Writing

What do you love?

writing

Lately, I have been doing some fun writing exercises (exercise and fun in the same sentence!). One was to choose several books and copy the first lines. As I was looking around my house for various books to pull first lines from, I ended up in our loft which houses all the papers and stuff that has no particular home. I found some long lost (and beloved) books and after copying a few first sentences, I began to write about a particular memory of reading a book I hadn’t seen in many years. It was pretty cool.

Another exercise challenged me to come up with a list of 100 things I love and I almost skipped it. Do I love 100 things? It turns out I do and once I started, I couldn’t stop and I’m adding to it every day. It is somewhat akin to a gratitude list. Here it is: Continue reading “What do you love?”

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Writing

A New Routine

writing

Today is day one of my new, unemployed life. What came before, these last two weeks was just the trial run. A period similar (but certainly not as devastating) to the events experienced after the death of a loved one. The period that is suspended in time where your tribe gathers around. Makes daily inquiries as to your well being. There is much to do in those first few days. Organize and prepare for what lies ahead. A pre-planned getaway to Florida followed my first week away from the job and there was a flurry of activity awaiting me there. But now I am home and everyone is back to work and school and I’m here to let the dust settle around me and find a new routine.

This is exactly what I have wanted for months on end. Time to write. Time to see if I have what it takes to birth a book. I’m hopeful because it is early days and I see nothing but time stretching ahead of me. I have a bit of money saved and with unemployment kicking in soon, I’ll have enough to get me through the next few months. I know how lucky I am. If I can’t make it work now, I don’t see how it’s going to happen for me. I know I have to sit my butt in front of my computer and let the words out, even if they are gibberish and nonsensical.

Continue reading “A New Routine”

Writing

Girl seeks inspiration

Lately I’ve been writing posts that may never make it out of the drafts folder. My thoughts seem so lackluster and a little hollow. Here’s what I did yesterday, blah, blah, blah. I’m trying to scrape meaning from something, anything, so I can turn it into a brilliant and soul crushing observation. Inspiration is just slightly out of reach, though. Well, maybe more than slightly.

I’m currently on my own for a few days at our home in Florida, getting it ready for renters who will arrive at the end of the month. There are still a couple days left and I want to use the time to really get started on writing something more than a blog post. I’ve got my legs draped over my favorite chair, alternating between The Alice Network and a Brene Brown book I picked up yesterday but I can’t stay focused and the task of writing morning pages holds no interest for me.

I’m content, though. It’s quiet and peaceful. I can just sit here pecking away at the keyboard on my phone, a cup of coffee by my side. No one to care if I shower and dress. My lovely journal is within reach and day is starting to dawn outside.

These are the kind of days I rarely get back home. I feel laying around, particularly now that I’m unemployed, will be unacceptable to me when I return. That I will feel the need to earn my keep by making things nice around the house. Being super mom and super wife. School volunteer and job seeker extraordinare. Right now is kind of a bubble. Anything and everything is possible if only I could hear what the universe is trying to tell me. I’m listening.

MC

Writing

Writing with pen

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For as long as I can remember I have always had preferences when it comes to pens. Fine tip. Blue ink. All pens are not created equal though and it took a while to settle on my implement of choice which is the Pentel R.S.V.P., blue ink, fine tip (of course) and I’ve used them for years. Unfortunately as things go with pens everywhere, they have a penchant to go missing often and sometimes second or third best will have to do.

I’ve decided to return to morning pages and a pen is required for this activity. I needed something strong and solid to capture the muddle of thoughts I have after being released from a job I’ve held for nearly nine years. I have never been quite in this position before. I am a long and loyal employee and only left my previous employer of 20 years after much hand-wringing and emotional cross-examination.

Continue reading “Writing with pen”

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

 

 

 

 

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.

Continue reading “Coffee house writing”

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!”