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

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

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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work

A File of Smiles

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Early in my career, someone gave me the idea to start a smile file. I graduated college in 1990 so this is going way back. Way back to the days when it wasn’t unusual to find people that still smoked at their desk and computers needed you to type the word run after a blinking c: prompt to bring it to life. Those early days were a fountain of knowledge and experience I didn’t pick up in college and full of opportunities to learn about the variety of human behavior to be experienced in an office setting when you are the first line of defense over the phone and in person (aka the receptionist).

After one particularly bad run-in with a customer, an older co-worker counseled me to start a file that I could turn to when times got tough at work. Times when tears would roll down my face over some mean insult spoken in haste by a customer over the phone. Unfortunately, bad manners are always going to be part of any job where you directly interact with customers. What goes into this folder, I asked?

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Life

Finding inspiration in the Last Lecture

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Today’s daily prompt brings to mind many different uses of the word lecture. But the one that immediately popped into my mind was the amazing and inspiring Last Lecture of Randy Pausch recorded in September 2007. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and was given a death sentence in the form of pancreatic cancer just a month prior to this lecture. The doctor had given him 3-6 months to live and he eventually succumbed to cancer in July of the following year.

The subject of his lecture was a simple premise: Achieve your childhood dreams. No, he didn’t talk about his looming death, his unfulfilled dreams, his regrets or hopes for his family’s future. He talked about his childhood dreams, from a somewhat simple goal of winning the “big” stuffed animal at amusement parks to the big one of working in animation at Disney. He details how he made these dreams come true (maybe not in the way he expected) and why our childhood dreams are important.

To date, there are over 18 million views of his lecture and if you haven’t seen it or are looking for inspiration about living life, please take a look and enjoy.

It got me thinking about my own childhood dreams which were: owning a horse, traveling to England, writing a book, owning a convertible (like Nancy Drew), going on a cruise (Love Boat anyone?) and becoming an Olympic gymnast. Some of these things are not going to happen (the Olympic dream has long since set sail) and some have already been achieved (London, convertible, cruise) and my dream of owning a horse has been eclipsed in knowing how much work it involves! That leaves one goal left on the table which is to write a book. It’s something I have worked on from time to time but has never gotten far off the ground.

What were your childhood dreams and how many did you see come to fruition? What’s left that you still want to do?

MC

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

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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Writing

Writing about …

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Week one of the writing class was interesting.  The class is from six to eight every Thursday evening and at 5:45 last week, instead of traveling the 20-minute route to my class, I was running the kiddo back to school for some homework he forgot and absolutely needed. I’m trying to let him experience natural consequences when these things happen but he was near tears and I acted with my heart instead of my head knowing it was going to make me late. My GPS calculated my arrival at the Arts Center to be 6:20 but I didn’t realize how impossible the parking was going to be and circled the neighborhood several times which added another 20 minutes to the trip. Honestly, I nearly decided to bail and go home but something wouldn’t let me take the easy way out.

I ambled into the classroom a good forty-five minutes late (this was week one for me and week two for everyone else) and I interrupted an animated discussion which felt a bit awkward. Everything stopped and the instructor said “you must be Mary”, to which I blurted out quick apologies. I scanned the room for a chair, and after I sat, realized why it was empty. The arm clattered to the floor when I went to pull it in. I briefly wished I had just gone home.

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