Writing

Friday writing

Good morning from Friday morning. It has been ten months since I moved to a four day work week with Fridays off and you know how people who retire say they don’t know how they had time to work, that pretty much sums it up. The idea behind Fridays was to make time to write and I think it started out pretty good but then life crept in and took over my “day off”. Errands, exercise classes, cleaning, school holidays and other not so fun things.

A year ago I had just started an online fiction writing class that I squeezed in while working a full workweek. How is it I no longer have time/make time to write? What happened to my WIP? I abandoned it at the end of the six week writing workshop, that’s what happened. I still hold those characters in my heart though and maybe it’s time to revisit and dust them off. What have they been up to this past year?

Today I declare a day free of errands, meetings and obligations. Today I will write and maybe it will go poorly or maybe it will go great. Maybe I will write pages and pages of giberish. There will likely be guilt in the back of my mind for other things I should be doing but I’ll have to try to mute it. The house couldn’t be in any worse shape than it is now so another day isn’t going to hurt much, right?

Cue the ABBA soundtrack and happy writing.

MC

 

 

 

 

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Writing

Not writing

write-until-it-becomes-as-natural-as-breathing_tw.pngI haven’t been writing. At. All. No words have been transferred from my brain to paper or computer in over a month and it feels like a dam is going to burst. I’ve barely even tried to write. I had been toting around a journal wherever I went for months on end and I finally even dumped that on my bedside stand no longer making a pretense that I might just write something down while I’m waiting somewhere.

I barely recognize myself these days. I keep telling myself I’ll feel better when the house is back in order. I keep telling myself we’re almost there. Just a few more weeks and then I can reboot my life. I am in a funk and it’s not fun. Don’t get me wrong, there are pockets of joy. I take them as they come and wrap myself around them trying to pull every spark of that good energy close to me to savor.

But yesterday was a very bad day. My dad was swindled out of a large sum of money that he cannot afford. We had our eleven-year-old at a therapy appointment because we can barely tolerate his attitude and behavior on a daily basis, only to be told he is suffering from an advanced case of teenageritis. A form email rejection for a job I applied to a couple of months ago without the benefit of even a phone interview. I spent the day crying until I didn’t know what I was even crying about anymore.

But today I dust myself off and tackle the issues at hand. A new day. A fresh start. I am resilient. I can do this. Fake it until you make it. I am re-committing myself to writing every day. It’s the only way back for me regardless if I hit the publish button or not. I am writing.

MC

Writing

Ideal writing conditions

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I am a creature of habit and someone who likes things the way they like them. Writing is no different. My number one rule is a quiet, empty house. This is an extremely difficult rule to employ since I share said house with a husband and 11-year-old. I am also ok with writing while everyone is sleeping or outside so I’m always encouraging Liam to go help his dad when he’s working outside.

This is very simply because if I am working at the computer, the questions start coming from Liam. What are you doing? When can I use the computer? What can I do? It leaves me a bit frustrated to be honest. I rarely try to write anymore when they are around. My favorite time to write is in the morning as that’s when I have the most energy and imagination. Sometimes I get up at 5:00, make myself a cup of coffee and then Murphy, our golden retriever will look at me with sad eyes that say “what about me?”. He will sit next to my chair and stare at me until I get him a treat and then he’ll lie by my feet realizing I’m not taking him for a walk.

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Since our house has been torn apart for the last month, I no longer have my writing room and that’s been really hard. I have the computer set up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen but I sit at it and cannot form any thoughts. I’m consumed instead by how long this renovation is taking and how much longer it’s going to be before the house is put back together. Right now all we have completed is the dining room floor (which looks quite nice) and by the end of next week, the floor in the office should be done and then the room will be back together shortly thereafter. I’m not going to think about the kitchen. Nope, not thinking about the kitchen which is still weeks away.

I have come to realize I have to make myself write, no matter what the conditions or it will never get done. Sometimes I obsess over the young people I see in the obituary pages (we still get a newspaper delivered!) and think I don’t know how much longer I have here. Pretty dour, right? It’s usually a passing phase but mortality is a real thing. I never thought much of it until I turned 50 and suddenly have retirement staring me down. I remind myself of Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally who is obsessed with her singleness and says she’s going to be 40, someday. She’s more like 30 but in her self-pity has aged herself by a decade.

I have now gotten so far off topic, I better wrap this up now. I’m writing today and that’s a good thing. It’s still early and Liam isn’t up to ask me what he can do and interrupt my momentum. I will try to shed my anxieties about mortality and writing and just get on with it.

Happy writing.

MC

 

 

 

Writing

More to come

My drafts are piling up again! It seems everytime I start a blog post, I’m unable to complete my thoughts to publish and then before you know it, another day has gone by. I wanted to commit to three posts a week (M,W,F) and I have written this activity into my weekly to do log in my cobbled together bullet journal. Alas, Wednesday does not seem to be a good day for me. I have a feeling the commitment to write is going to get harder at the end of the month when WordPress eliminates their daily prompt feature, which I rely on heavily! Must all good things come to an end?

One of the posts I started this week, I’d really like to bring to fruition. It’s about the clarity of communication. Inspired by real-life circumstances (of course). I’ve been thinking a lot about how we trip ourselves up by not being clear with each other whether it be by a phrase, a tone (sarcasm) or being passive-aggressive. It can be written or spoken. It can be in the way we listen as well.

Right now I have to head to a class at the gym (also known as stretch torture class). I am finishing up my fourth week since I started with a personal trainer and while it hasn’t been easy, I do feel a bit more toned than I did at the start of the month. It’s going to be a beautiful day here in the Northeast and my mood will hopefully follow! My emotions have been an up and down, like a roller coaster ride, this past month. Did you know there’s an app for tracking that? It’s called Daylio.

MC

 

 

Writing

Coffee house writing

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Coming to you this morning from a new (to me) Starbucks. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve stopped into a coffee shop such as Starbucks, on my own, to sit down. I don’t know if this is a cliche but I feel like I’m always reading that this is where writers hang out to write and as I look around I don’t really see any writer types.

I wonder what everyone is doing here on a Friday morning during normal “working hours”. The comfy chairs are all taken (I was fortunate enough to nab the last one!) and the tables with singles here and there are all in use, laptops open. Free internet browsing? Something to pass the time? People watching (like me)?

I have to say, it’s quite loud here. I don’t know if that’s typical for Starbuck’s with high exposed ceilings or just this location. I’ve never looked up before. It’s a good sized location, about twice the size of the one near my house. It’s also in a strip mall twice the size of the one near me. I do a disservice, I guess, by calling them strip malls since the stores in these malls cater to the upscale shopper (fine dining, fur coats, fancy clothes and jewelry alongside a pharmacy, post office and dry cleaner). This particular shopping venue is near my doctor’s office where I just came from.

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Writing

Just Write!

I just got home from dropping dad at the airport and thought I’d take a look at my latest attempt at my book. Ugh, I cannot find the draft. I thought I had put it on a thumb drive and I spent ages the night before I left for vacation looking for it. I found the thumb drive in my this and that bag that I threw in my carry on and was beyond excited to have it with me. But the darn document is not on the drive and must be on my home computer. So much for that.

I guess I could restart which is a little disheartening or I could make an attempt at an outline which may be the better idea. The trouble is I don’t know where I want the story to go. It starts out with a confession by the main character and then trails back to the beginning of her life and that of her twin brother and the circumstances surrounding their (single) mother and her unplanned pregnancy. I almost feel like I need some sort of prompt to find a direction for the story.

My writing setup is perfect (for me) and how I imagined writing life. I’m on my Florida patio, the sun shining, a nice breeze and an icy glass of tea. There’s quiet music in the background and not a soul around save for a few geckos. I grabbed a fresh notebook and my fancy pen and here I am. Continue reading “Just Write!”

Writing

It’s a wrap on February

I had another post ready to go for my last day of daily blogging but I thought I’d save it. Yup, I finish my daily blogging challenge today. I did it! I failed miserably when I tried this in November but I think it’s already a pressure-filled time of year to have tried to add daily blogging to the list.

Today is also going to be my dad’s last day here. Unfortunately, a friend of his passed away and he needs to go home to offer his support to the family. We had such a great time catching up. I heard a ton of stories I never knew about him and now he’s transferred them to me. Hopefully, I can remember them all.

Continue reading “It’s a wrap on February”

Writing

Encrusted in Poetry

Today I poked around some blogs based on today’s prompt, encrusted, and happily found some new writers to follow.  I love seeing how everyone has used the word, especially in poems because of how succinct and powerful they can be. Poetry was once very important in my life and I’ve kind of gotten away from it lately. I have a book of poems I keep at my work desk when I look for something to take me away from the sometimes boring number crunching I do. I haven’t changed it out since I’ve been here (nearly eight years) and I think it’s time for a new volume.

At home, I mostly read poetry by Shel Silverstein with my son. One of my favorite poets I discovered in high school was Edna St. Vincent Millay and after my brother died, I turned to a few of her poems over and over (Renascence mostly). Awaiting me in Florida is a book of poetry by Mary Oliver and I’m looking forward to picking it up again. I also love to read poetry aloud (even if it’s just to myself) but I feel a bit conspicuous about it when others are around.

High school and college were when I did most of my poetry writing. It helped me make sense of so many situations including heartache, grief, confusion, injustices (rarely happy occasions!). I’ve thought of trying my hand at it again but it seems my poetry mind may have dried up. I may give it a try again while I’m away on vacation next week.

I didn’t find much inspiration for my own use of encrusted, but it got me thinking about poetry again so I can be thankful for that! Thanks to all of you who have inspired me today.

MC

 

Writing

Random writing

I’ve made it to day 20 of daily blogging! I love to go to my stat insights page and see all the blocks for February filled in because it makes me feel so accomplished. That and getting my weekly Grammarly Insights email that tells me how many words I’ve written and the number of unique words I used. But the truth is, writing and publishing something every day hasn’t been easy at times (as many of you who have blogged daily for many, many days, months and years can attest – hats off to you). While I am constantly searching my brain and my surroundings for topics to write about, sometimes I come up blank and write about random things as I did yesterday. And guess what, those are my most read and liked posts. Who can figure? The good thing is that daily writing has not felt like a burden.

As I prepare for vacation later this week, I’ve thought I’d try pre-writing and have some posts ready to go next week so I can spend more time writing the book I haven’t been working on lately. I don’t want to spend all my time writing at a computer while my dad is around because he is all about limited screen time (except when it involves baseball and movies). If ever I’m on my phone too much he will definitely pipe up. Also, if I leave writing to early morning or nighttime, it likely won’t happen.

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Writing

To enroll or not, that is the question

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For the past couple of years, I’ve taken a few writing classes at an area arts center to improve my skills and expose myself to new styles of writing. It has been a mostly good experience but my last class, while overall I would give it a thumbs up, my schedule was such that I missed half the classes so I was hesitant to sign up for another one this spring. I found one I am extremely interested in called Narrative Nonfiction and it starts tomorrow. Should I enroll? I go back and forth.

I have a couple of vacations and one work trip to California coming up in March and early April which is one reason I’m balking. I found that missing half the classes in my last go around, I didn’t have a great connection with the other participants and while I read a couple of my essays/stories in class, I didn’t get to workshop them like the others. It was still very helpful and I got good feedback (although I didn’t get suggestions on things I should tweak or change). One of my goals for 2018 is to try to get something published (offline) and I think the more I expose myself to these classes, the better chance I will have.

One of my favorite aspects of the last class was to explore and attempt some different writing techniques (like a Wikipedia entry and a metafiction story). Again it was hard because I was missing about every other week so I was always a week off from what we were sharing in class. Our instructor was great and I got a lot from the other people in the class – how they wrote, suggestions everyone made to improve their stories, all the points of view.

I also tried an online novel writing class last summer and it felt like a lot of work because you have to read everyone else’s work and offer suggestions in addition to writing your own. It’s probably because instead of giving the person your feedback in person, you had to type up all your comments and then keep all the different pieces straight from week to week.  I also got a lot out of the class because we had to work on specific writing tasks each week like writing the same chapter using different points of view and found I’m most comfortable writing from first person (which was not how I was writing my novel). I’m not sure I would try an online class again, though.

So I still have another 24 hours to make my decision on whether to take a class this spring. What to do! What to do!

MC