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

 

 

 

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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

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

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

Finding the Time to Write

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I have read several books on writing and attempted the twelve week program outlined in The Artist’s Way over the summer (I didn’t make it past week three). The advice I most often see is to write in the morning and to commit to a block of time to do so. This sounds great to me but then I remember I have a job. A job where I’m in the office at 7 a.m. so right there I throw out the idea of morning writing. I so want a true writer’s life where I can devote specific hours to it every day.

For a time I tried getting up at 5 a.m. so I could at least put in an hour in the morning but that lasted as long as the end of summer when darkness and cooler weather enticed me to remain under the covers until 6 only giving myself enough time to quickly shower and dress before leaving the house at 6:40. When I was morning writing, some days it would be hard to break away from the rhythm after an hour.

Continue reading “Finding the Time to Write”