IT CAN BE FUN!

This weekend I will be at an Autumn Arts Bazaar promoting my Mrs. Claus book.  Although this is not my favorite part of the writing process, I know it can be fun. I just have to follow my own advice that I tell myself or my class about get the writing done.  Just show up and have fun.

The possibilities are endless if I just show up and smile. I am not trying to impress anyone.

Having no expectations and being open to whatever happens makes this a win -win for me.

My husband follows the same philosophy. He doesn’t put a lot of thought  having into a good or bad day and he usually comes away having really good days when many would only see the negative. It’s all about attitude.

I get to share Mrs. Claus,  a book I enjoyed writing, and a book that is illustrated by a talented artist who spread the humor of my story of Mrs. Claus in a very effective way.

Imposter syndrome can affect us all if we let it. But the truth is if we write, we are writers.

And If I love what I do then why not share it?   The Edison Autumn Makers’ Fair is a  community event that supports    Edison High School where my son went to  high school. I will be among other creative people.

Giving back to my community while having fun and maybe even selling a couple of books makes it all worth it.

 

Oh and by the way, check out these freebies on my blog site and have some fun putting together gift boxes you can fill with treats for your loved ones!  HO! HO! HO!

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NaNoWriMo is Here!

 

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Photo by Maddy Zen on Pexels.com

 

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  is upon us.  I have challenged myself to write a novel I’ve wanted to write for over 30 years. Maybe longer but whose counting?   I am! I’ve waited way too long to get this story together and it’s time to challenge myself and get to it. To quote Anne LaMott,  It’s time to write that “Shitty First Draft” so that I can the start to shape it into the story I want to tell before it is way too late.

Think about making your own writing challenges. That means challenges that are right for you.  NaNoWriMo is not the only challenge. Challenge yourself to write something you’ve put off and give yourself a time limit.

You don’t need to start in November either.  You can start anytime. The challenge does not have to be as large as a  novel only enough for you to feel as if you are stretching yourself as a writer.  30 days is a good length of time to work with but it is up to you to decide what makes for a good challenge. 

Examples:

Write a poem every day for 30 days

Write one story in 30 days

Write three pages every morning for one month

But you do not have to keep your challenge within a one month time frame.

Think about what Ray Bradbury once said: “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

So challenge yourself and write.

Follow Your Writing Bliss

 

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“Attention is like energy in that without it no work can be done, and in doing work it is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we invest this energy. Memories, thought, and feeling are all shaped by how we use it. And it is an energy under our control, to do with as we please; hence, attention is our most important tool in the task of improving the quality of experience.”

 From Flow: THe Psychology of Optimal Experience  by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  

 

“Keep your eye on the prize.”

I think of that line from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory every time I realize that I have wandered away from my writing path. I usually get a feeling of uneasiness that something is just not right. It happens when I think I need to commit to projects that do not serve me any longer or when I think I should do something that does not fill me with joy.  Goals that were once important to me but not anymore. That is when I need to keep my eye on what is important for me at this moment in my life.

Time is limited. The days, weeks, months and years fly by.  I need to always be conscious of living my most creative life as I define it, not by what others tell me I should be doing. 

When I focus my energy on what I want to be and where I want to be, I know I am on my true path because it fills me with joy.

But how easy it is to chase that squirrel around and around in the backyard.   I know, I’ve watched my dog.   

And myself.

Energy flows where attention goes.

The Big White Open Page

“Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.”  -Barbara Kingsolver

 

I just joined a health club and today I went in to do some of the things the personal trainer suggested. I told myself I didn’t need to do it all. I just needed to show up and do what I could.

Baby steps.

I got to the club early feeling a little out of place thinking everyone will be watching me.  The woman behind the desk took my photo because  I was new.  There were a few earlier risers there this morning. I knew they were regulars. They had their club designed workout clothes, sweaty towels, their wireless headphones. I was a newbie. I forgot my headphones and towel. I was still trying to figure out the equipment and how to lock my locker.   

But that’s ok.   Because I showed up. I know what I need to do.

With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) coming up in November, I am in challenge mode. But it’s important for me to remember that I am not in competition with anyone. No one likes to be a beginner and with writing it feels like that almost all the time.  I am facing that bright white sheet of paper each time I sit down to write. How I get myself there is the trick. (Just like the health club). 

This year NaNoWriMo may be a good way to challenge myself and to recognize I am not alone in this journey.  But whatever I do or don’t do daily should never be because I am trying to compete with someone else.  

This writing thing.   I do it for me.

 

 

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Won’t You Be My Writing Neighbor?

 

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“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices and hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”  –Mister Rogers

 

 In a couple of days it will be my birthday and I have been thinking about wishes.

To make wishes come true you have to act.    There has to be an intention.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Over the weekend I met with my writing group and I wrote for five hours on one of my stories.   It felt good and I felt like I broke down a barrier. Next month my group scheduled a write-a-thon and are planning to write for six hours at various locations followed by a celebratory dinner.  

One of my birthday wishes is that I use more of my time to put pen to  paper and write down some of the stories I’ve been putting off.

What are some of your stories that need to be written?

Won’t you be my writing neighbor?   Even if it isn’t your birthday, make your writing wishes come true. 

Join me

 Write.

My New Acrostic

So now I am an official empty nester. My youngest son, Dylan, has gone out of town to college. It’s a strange feeling for me after 30 years of being a parent. It is a little unsettling.  The life I created had been much more than just parenting. Social groups, school activities,  4H work and community events are now gone.  There are changes in my schedule. There are less responsibilities.  Like my son, I actually have  a new freedom.  So this is where I can recreate myself.

Recently, I discovered an acrostic poem that Dylan wrote on his name when he was 12 years old. I put the poem in his move in bag for him to read after we left.  I wrote next to the poem, “Now that you’re in college, what will your new acrostic be?”

Now that I think about it. What will MY new acrostic be?

 

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Summer is for Adventures in Writing

 

 

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Last month my husband and I went up to Ely, MN to retrieve a canoe.

My 18-year old son came back from an adventure in the (BWCA) Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

He went with two canoes and three friends. He returned with one canoe but still three friends. It was the kind of trip that would always be memorable.

After swamping the canoe and unable to retrieve it, they left it. A passing fishing boat came by and brought my son’s stranded friends who were on an island back to shore.  All of them were safe and also full of smiles.  They all agreed they wanted to do a trip again.

When we picked up the canoe, my husband said looking at all the dents, “Those rocks did a real beating on them.”

My son will always have a story to tell and maybe even write about.

Summer is the time for adventures and for exploring new places.

It’s the time for wearing bright colors and painting toenails or spending time nose deep into books and hitching your mind up to a cloud to just daydream.

And it’s the perfect time for capturing those moments by writing.

So whether I am in a canoe fighting strong winds or  in a hammock daydreaming in my backyard,  I will have my journal ready.

Gretchen Rubin, Author of The Happiness Project, once said, “The days are long but the years are short.”

So true.

Just Write…

 

 

Well, I lie A lot

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I am having a trip down memory lane today. I am watching one of my favorite shows from childhood, “High Chaparral,” an old time television western. One of the characters, Buck Cannon played by Cameron Mitchell, says after breaking a deal he made with an outlaw, 

“Well, I lie a lot.”

Today is 4th of July and I promised myself that my time would  be spent on my creative projects. And I have a free day to do this.

After the show, I realized how Buck’s words resonated with me.  

How often do I lie?   I lie a lot. I lie a lot to myself. I promise myself I will do the activities that I love. I will make time for them.  Then something else interrupts me and I make a liar of myself.

But not today, I will be true to myself. 

I will write.

Check back with me for how I do.

Writing Matters But So Does Lunch

 

 

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It is June and that means graduation season for many of us including me. This week my 18 year old son, Dylan, is graduating from high school.

And until today, I have been making his lunch.

I am not sure why I kept doing it.  Teachers used to tease him about. But he didn’t mind. It was really more for me than him.

I told myself that I had to make my own lunch and it wasn’t a big deal. And that it was one less thing he would have to do knowing there were finals and presentations to finish. He’d rather sleep anyway then worry about making a lunch. 

As I put together the photos for his Open House, I wondered how the years flew away from me and how he grew from a boy to a 6’ 5” man he is today. Lately, I have been calling him Shaggy (from Scooby Doo) because of that fuzzy mound of hair that has congregated on his chin.) 

I am still in a bit of a daze that graduation is upon us. This fall he will be moving out of the house to attend college. And I will be an empty nester. 

A little sadness settles in.

Yet, what seems to be a bit of synchronicity I stumbled upon these words by Kahlil Gibran:

“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable.

 I needed to read those words.

The words written by Kahlil Gibran helped me as I transition into a new life without Dylan home.

Writing connects you to others and to the world.  And it can help you make sense of your own world and of your life.

It also reminded me how important it is to write to the people in our life. Writing from the heart can bring joy and comfort to you and to others.

That is why I write.  Sharing my words and my feelings has always been important. So instead of making a sandwich for Dylan today, I will write him a graduation note and tell him how I feel about this special day.

 

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”    —Albus Dumbledore

Being Mindful. Being Present

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Rene Magritte —The False Mirror

 

Dr. Henry Emmons, a psychiatrist,  spoke at a conference I attended last week.  He ended his talk telling the audience what the secret was to happiness and longevity.

 He said, “Be mindful of the present moment.”

Mindfulness feeds into our everyday life and especially into writing.

Creator of the Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction Program (MSBR), Jon Kabit-Zinn, said, “Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.”

My best writing sessions are when I am present with pen and paper in hand. I am centered and open as I write.

But when I ramp up my brain about other random things like, “don’t forget to do this or that, and don’t forget about that thing.” Then my brain starts to overload. It is like  hot oil shooting out of a pan. It has nowhere to go except all over the stove, the floor, and my arm. 

OUCH!  And Damnit! 

We don’t need to be jumping around like Mexican jumping beans with our distracted thoughts corrupting our writing time.  Or acting like my dog, Bailey, chasing every squirrel she sees or doesn’t see because she’s so programmed to just go when she hears the word, Squirrel!  

That’s kind of like our mind.

 And there are a lot of squirrels (aka distractions-checking email, googling information, answering a text) taking our attention.

When I practice settling into this moment. My mind slows down. 

I smell the lilacs outside my window.

I see the animal figures in the clouds.

It calms my heart. I can see the way into my imagination and get into the task of what I am writing.

And that is all that matters.

Writing about your life can be enjoyable and bring a deep satisfaction.  When I  experience life  in the present and take the time to write about it, life becomes fuller and I become more creative. 

Sometimes when I read old journals and see that I have skimmed or neglected much of the detail around that time, I get a little sad. I may still have the memory but I neglected to write about it in the present moment. I skirted around it or did not take the time to see the details.  As if it was just not important enough. As if my life is boring.

Jon Kabit-Zinn also said, “When you pay attention to boredom, it gets unbelievably interesting.”

Being present is about taking notice of your life.

Today at work I watched construction workers tear apart the street below my office window. I felt like my 15 month old grandson watching these huge bulldozers doing amazing things.

When you write, there is no reason to hurry, and no other place you need to go. 

So feel the breeze on your face, float with the clouds above, and smell the lilacs. 

Be there and wherever you are  ….

Write!