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.

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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

 

 

Writing

Catching up

I wanted a coffee in the worst way this morning. Part of my healthier eating routine is to forgo coffee due to the cream and sugar I use but since I had a bowl of ice cream last night, I’m pretty sure I’m not doing so well with it. So I thought I’d just cheat a little and have that coffee but someone has my back because we are nearly out of cream and the expiration date on it is tomorrow. I bought this cream before I gave up coffee (around Christmas) so I’m not about to drink something that’s about to go off. Tea it is.

And so every time I sit down to write on my day off, I’m greeted by this face. You can imagine this presents a bit of a problem. He is puzzled why I’m not going to play with him all day instead of doing boring human things.

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All I had to do was give him a treat and he happily goes to the kitchen to gnaw away on it. If only life was so simple for all of us.

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Writing

30 drafts!

Egad! Thirty drafts in my folder. I haven’t posted here in nearly two weeks but I have so many uncompleted thoughts in my drafts. I don’t know what the issue is but I’m profusely embarrassed or at least somewhat disheartened that I’ve put writing on the back burner again.

In early January, I spent about 20 minutes on my resolutions. I wrote them in a brand new fancy notebook with a brand new fancy pen and then haven’t looked at them again. I know somewhere in there is a promise to write more. Especially on Fridays when I’m off from work. I did manage to do this two weeks ago and got started on a new novel that came rushing out of me faster than I could type it. I spent a couple of hours just hammering out the words. I reread them and thought this could really go somewhere and then the next day I thought it was complete shite! That was also the day I locked myself out of the house.

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Writing

Best Laid Plans

How does this sound? You’ve cleaned up the morning dishes, cleaned up your writing room (it is the first room in the house as you come in the door and gets loaded up with coats, mittens, boots, nerf guns, you name it), the dishwasher is humming away, the dryer is spinning in the next room. You’ve got a large mug of hot tea by your side, journal and pen in hand, ready to write down your writing goals for 2018. The house is quiet, surrounded in fresh white snow and the family is at work and school and the dog is planted at your feet. Cozy, huh. Continue reading “Best Laid Plans”

Writing

Read to write

my readingThis tweet from Lauren Groff (who I’ve never read but may have to change that next year) resonated with me and where I am at this stage. I haven’t been writing and that’s ok. I used to feel guilty or embarrassed or something that I professed to want to be a writer and yet not write and then I made myself write every day whether it be in my journal, on a random scrap of paper or in the drafts section of WordPress, never to see the light of day. I have over 20 drafts in my WordPress folder if anyone is counting.

Back in October, I was so excited to have Fridays free to write when I went to a four day work week. Guess what? That time began to fill with other things mainly related to parenting and home life. I finished up my Thursday night writing class a couple weeks ago having missed half of the eight sessions because even when I try, I find it impossible to put myself first for fear I’ll disappoint someone else.

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