A Perfectly, Imperfect Wedding and The Return to Writing

It’s been a while. The summer flew by so quickly it is difficult to believe that we are officially into fall. Yet, here we are.

A Perfectly, Imperfect Wedding

Much of the past few months have been focused on my daughter’s wedding. I’d forgotten how much work planning a wedding can be. Even when you attempt to plan for every contingency, something always happens. Like, wardrobe malfunctions and insane weather.

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Turns out I forgot one of the main items to have on hand for weddings: Safety pins.

Really?

Yes, one of the zippers broke on one of the bridesmaids’ dresses and she had to be sewn into it.

Safety pins would have saved the day.

Insane Weather

Now, if you live in Michigan, September generally means some seriously beautiful weather. The days tend to be warm, but not too warm and the nights cool enough for sweatshirts. September and October days tend to be the gift just before winter hits and reminds us that we should all move south.

But, not this year.

No, this year we have had insane weather and not just in Michigan. At the time of this writing, a hurricane is barreling toward North Carolina. Marie is her name and she is the 4th or 5th one to hit the US and it’s territories.

Hurricanes tend to change the weather in other parts of the country and when there are so many in a row, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we, here in Michigan would be affected too.

I must confess I didn’t really look at the weather forecast much in the week before the wedding. I worried mostly about rain as our contingency plan would have to be implemented.

A couple of days before the wedding, temps began to climb. By Thursday before the big day, we were seeing highs in the 80’s. On Friday, the thermometer reached 90 degrees.

A fun fact: on Friday, September 22, the 2nd hottest place in the United States was Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, about an hour away from where the wedding would be held.

Needless to say, on the day of the wedding, temps hovered around 94 or 95 degrees, with humidity.

We didn’t plan for the heat and it affected so much.

The show must go on and so it did.

In spite of the heat, the wedding was beautiful. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not happy that it is over. I’m just so ready to get back to real life.

A Return to Writing

I’ve been absent from my writing for some time. I’m not even sure when I posted the last time. Apparently, it’s difficult to stay focused on goals when planning a wedding.

But I am back and slowly building my writing habits again, which includes publishing blog posts regularly.

Slow is a relative term.

As we have reached the fall season, I am not surprised that NaNoWriMo is coming. That means I have deadlines to meet and a novel to plan.

I need to spend October planning or something close to it. All I have is a character in mind. Not much else. This should be fun.

So, there you have it. My life in less than 600 words. I am grateful for all of my readers and the chance to share these words with you.

As I close, I leave you with this cuteness:

Abel refused to take his hat off.



Writer at Work

img_0888Spring has come to Northern Michigan, and we have begun to enjoy the longer days and mostly nicer weather. The sun is returning, and the light is wonderfully warming after the cold winter.

With the coming of the light, comes another of the great warm weather traditions: Projects.

I’m not sure how it is in other states, but here in Michigan, spring also means the beginning of road construction. Once cannot drive anywhere without running into the orange cones and guys in hard hats.

We do the same thing at home. Once the snow recedes the desire to dig in the dirt increases as does the need to make repairs and changes around the home.

My Writing Shed has been quite high up on the list of unfinished projects, and we are gaining ground. The walls are paneled and painted; they only await trim. The floor isn’t in yet, but that will come later this spring.

I’ve spent some beautiful days in and out of the shed, enjoying the warmth and light. I’ve found pleasure in hanging the decorations I’d been collecting all winter.

Sitting in this clean space with pictures and other decorations on the wall is stirring the creative juices. I can feel the excitement of holding a pen and putting it to paper.

Of course, I must find a balance with the rest of the projects that are in the planning stages. We’ve been brainstorming on how to transform our yard from just grass and trees to something more fun and functional. We have lots of space to fill, and there may be a rock garden in my future.

Spending this time in my writing shed and writing has been a balm to my soul. I have needed this space and look forward to more days spent in solitude.

Here is what’s been happening:

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Life is always a work in progress, and my building reflects that. I doubt I will ever truly finish it regardless of where the construction goes. Life grows and changes too much.

Rejection: Good or Bad?

writer-605764_1280I’ve been writing nearly all of my life and have spent almost all that time want to be a published writer. Being a writer means putting your butt in a chair, getting words on a page and then actually sending them out.

Sometimes, I am slow.

I’ve somehow managed to miss that last part; submitting my work.

The task of submitting work has been that little thought in the back of my head, you know, the one that we most times ignore until it becomes a scream. Even if I find myself attempting to push the button, something often holds me back.

Excuses, excuses, excuses and fear.

Fear of what others are thinking about my writing and fear of rejection.

Each year, submitting is on my list of goals to accomplish for the year. Yep, it’s on my list this year too.

Well, I managed to push the button a few weeks ago.

I have some flash fiction pieces that are nearly ready to go out with one in particular that seemed more “done” than most. I found a possible market and I pushed the button.

And, then I realized that I wanted to change some things in my story; like the title and some language that would make things flow better.

Well, that is just great.

The market I chose was one of those that says if you submit a piece to them, it cannot be submitted elsewhere. One of the good things I found was they gave a time limit: up to 8 weeks. Waiting can be good or bad.

So, I waited for the rejection that would come. Maybe I should have been more positive in my thoughts, but I wanted the chance to work with those areas again. The story could only get better.

The rejection came a few days ago.

For the first time, rejection didn’t crush me. I didn’t feel low or have the need to bolster that part of me that struggles with rejection. Am I growing and becoming tougher? Maybe.

There is a part of me that wants my work to be accepted even with flaws. I’m waiting for an expert to see the genius of my writing and say, ‘I just know this will be well received, and you will be famous’.

Yes, I am delusional.

The truth is my story wasn’t ready to go out into the world yet. Although it is close, the piece needs some more editing. And my ego doesn’t need the lie; the truth is preferable.

I understand there are many reasons for rejections. Sometimes it may be that this piece isn’t right for a specific market, or perhaps the story or article is too similar to something else just published. Or, the work isn’t ready and needs some more attention.

As hard as rejection can be, I believe, it can be a positive thing too. Sometimes, work isn’t ready for the world to see, no matter how much we think it is finished. The words we write are so personal that it is difficult not to take rejection badly.

The truth often hurts but can be a good thing.

I am grateful that I didn’t have to wait too long for the rejection. Now I have a chance to make the changes I want to that will make this particular piece sing.

This is a good thing.

 

Writing Through the Difficult Times

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2I’ve come to the first Wednesday of February and time for another installment of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and I wanted to share some of the thoughts I’ve had in the past month.

Writing is hard. Especially when emotions run wild and out of control. This is a surprise to me since I use writing in my work with clients and I’ve used it for healing myself.

My dream to publish hasn’t died even though my heart hurts at the moment. I’ve tried not to be too hard on myself even when I feel I should be writing.

Healing from emotional pain takes a lot of energy. There has been very little left over for anything or anyone else lately.

Creativity hasn’t disappeared. It’s just muted. I’ve had moments of brilliance. There haven’t been many but enough to keep me going.

There are few words to describe the emotions of the past four weeks. I’ve given up trying and am just moving on.

Blogging on a schedule doesn’t work when life is topsy turvy. I am working on it. Hopefully, I can get back to normal.

As usual, life is full of lessons and I am learning them at full speed. Life will go on, whether I write or not, so I will follow my dream.

I will write.

The Post November Hangover

typewriter-377042_1280I feel as if I am hungover and need to recover from a long night of drinking. I’ve never made the correlation between NaNoWriMo and a really good party, but there it is.

It’s the end of NaNoWriMo and the beginning of the holiday season.

There is a let-down after all the hype of November, at least in the writing world. The build up begins during October and, if you are lucky, lasts all the way through the end of the month.

It did for me. I spend the month of November, happily typing away on my novel reaching my required 50,000 words before the end of the third week. I kept going because the story wasn’t done. Finishing the month strong, I still had nearly a quarter of my novel to complete.

Then came December. I’m still in novel writing mode which means I have a goal of 2000 words each day until I’m done. Fast forward to today and I’m feeling the downward swing.

I’ve just had my second day of not working on my novel. I can see the end, I have about 10,000 words to go. Only I seem to have lost any drive to go on writing.

Welcome, to the NaNo Hangover.

There is such a community of writers coming together during the month of November. The excitement tends to wane throughout the month, but there are always a group that hangs on until the end. It is a wonderful experience.

Once it is over, the community doesn’t go away but the excitement tends to. Everyone has the post-November hangover.

The energy is gone and all that is left is to finish all the words. Now, I just want to sleep.

The end is in sight. I can see it, I can even taste it. My intention is to let my novel rest when it is complete and I can type “The End.” Only making it to that point seems to be moving further and further away.

At this moment, the most difficult thing I am doing is walking to my desk and putting one word in front of the other.

I want to recover from all the excitement, energy, and focus that November requires.

I want to print out my novel and put it on my bookshelf so I can get some distance.

I want to skip to the end to be able to begin putting that distance between writing and editing.

I want to focus on the holidays, which are approaching faster than I want them to.

I don’t remember last year being like this. Of course, I finished my story within the 50,000 words and was able to let it rest. I could then move on to a new project, namely this blog.

I had hoped to finish my story by this weekend, but that seems to be a bit delayed. It may take a few more days but I this is my goal.

Of course, I have a couple more novels to plan but that is another post. That’s what being a writer is all about.writer-605764_1280

Life at Midweek

clock-650753_1280It’s time for another Wednesday post. And it’s a Wednesday in the middle of a normally dreary month.

Except that, this month hasn’t been dreary. We’ve had some fantastic weather, meteor showers – I hope you were able to see them – and it’s Thanksgiving, with mashed potatoes. What could be better? I’m sure you thought I was going to say turkey except that I don’t eat that so it is mashed potatoes for me.

This month has more than just the things I listed above. My mother and my daughter both have birthdays this month. We celebrated with my daughter by going out to dinner and antique shopping. It was fabulous. And, for the first time I didn’t spend the most on antiques. Amazing!

As you know, I have been participating  in National Novel Writing Month. I have been hard at work putting one word in front of the other to the tune of about 43,000 words. The only problem is I’ve just reached the midpoint of my novel. That means my novel will be between 70 and 80 thousand words. So, that’s cool.

I’m heading back to my novel and hoping to catch sight of the meteor showers in between the raindrops.

For those who are with me in this writing thing, may the words flow like a river. For those who are not, I hope you enjoy these balmy days and fabulous sunrises.

Time is Always Against Us!

clock-650753_1280So, this is one of the many lines from The Matrix movie but this is the thought I’ve had all day. A day that began much too early.

For some strange reason, Pippa the kitten decided that 4:00 am was a good time for me to get up. Every so often she does this thing where she gets restless and decides she needs an audience. Maybe she was inspired by the gorgeous full moon.

I did get up and spent some time writing. With NaNoWriMo coming up quickly, I still had some planning to do. This morning I made what is called a beat sheet, which is a general list of all the scenes in my novel. Although there is a bit more to plan, I had been avoiding this seemingly overwhelming task. Now it’s done. And just in time.

The day job began bright and early and ended late with only a stolen coffee get-away in the middle. Bathroom breaks and breathing seemed optional. I welcomed the end of the day even with my ever growing to-do list.

Because there is always something that needs doing. Time is always an issue.

I made the statement today: “I’m not going to give up writing.”

There is always a choice and time is always a factor. I’ve drawn my line in the sand.

No matter what, writing comes first.

Where is your line?

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo

InsecureWritersSupportGroup2It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it is time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post.

This month will be less about the insecurities that go with being a writer and more about the balance of writing and regular life.

I’ve been thinking about balance all year. This is not a surprise since balance was my “One Little Word” for the year. I am finding that all things in my life are about balance. I am also finding that I am not very good at staying in balance in my life.

October is the official or unofficial planning month for November’s NaNoWriMo, depending on how you look at it. For me, that means that the next couple of months will be quite busy. And all by choice.

I’ve discovered that whether by choice or simply by life it is so easy to get out of balance. Most of the things that will be crowding my life for the next couple of months will be by my choice. That doesn’t mean that I won’t get overwhelmed or want to give up. But I won’t.

I choose to participate in NaNoWriMo which means that it is my goal to write 50,000 words by November 30th. This is a crazy goal but completely doable.

I choose to write every day. My day is not complete until I’ve written. No matter how tired or much I just want to curl up in front of the tv, I will write. This may not seem like balance, but it truly is. Writing is in my blood and must be heeded.

I believe I will struggle in the attempt to balance my writing with my regular life. This isn’t unlike anyone else. If you have kids, a job, house and/or a partner, attempting to balance all of this is incredibly difficult.

Balance is a delicate dance. One that never ends and that is okay.balance-110850_1280

If you are joining me in the quest for a NaNoWriMo win, then good luck. It’s a wild ride.

If you are simply trying to make your life work then I wish you all the best. I know how difficult things can be.

Just remember: if every day were the same, life would be boring.

The Importance of Posture

body-143798_1280I’ve been writing for a while now and have discovered that my body is suffering a bit.

Last year during November, I realized that when I was immersed in writing my story and sitting in my normal office chair, my posture was terrible. My office chair is not stationary and tends to spin if I’m not paying attention. What would happen as I wrote is I would turn my torso and one shoulder would end up more forward than the other. While this caused no pain at the time, it has had some longer reaching issues.

The shoulder that would be forward has been troubling me for some months. Apparently not enough to see my doctor sooner but it also didn’t get any better. I have this fear of losing the use of my body parts so I’ve finally taken action.

The good news is there is no permanent damage, only inflammation and irritation. The cure for this type of shoulder pain is physical therapy. This is my second round of shoulder pain and physical therapy, just the opposite shoulder.

I’ve had a couple of appointments and I am happy to report things are on the mend. My physical therapist sent home some exercises to complete which I am trying my hardest to complete. I often struggle with doing those things I am supposed to do.

Another thing that he talked about was the importance of posture. Having your chair at the right height to the desk you are using is important. The idea is to have your arms at 45-degree angles to the desk so there is no strain on your back and shoulders.

This is harder than it seems.

I am short. Not horribly so but I must admit that I need to shop in the petite section. This causes problems when the world seems to be built for average sized individuals. I’m not sure what “average size” is, but I know that I don’t reach it. So I must adjust.

At this moment, I am writing from a hard chair with only a cushion on the seat for comfort. The chair works for my new desk, which is a vintage piece of furniture that fits perfectly in my new writing space. My arms are at the correct angle and the writing is going well.

The only problem is my legs and feet. For those who are short, you know what I am talking about. My feet do not sit flat on the floor. While I am used to this problem, it is very uncomfortable to stay in this position for long periods of time.

I wanted to change out my chair for one more comfortable, but the chair was too short for the desk. It would have been hard on my back and shoulders. So my solution, albeit a temporary one, is to put a spacer on the floor under my feet. This small wooden box is nearly the correct height to keep me from dangling my feet.

While I don’t know if this will be permanent, it is what is working for the moment. As I continue on with my PT and my writing I’m sure changes will need to be made. Nothing in life stays the same.

I will keep working on a healthier workspace both at home and at my job. I would hate to struggle with the things I love.

Friday Five: Reasons to Write Everyday

typewriter-801921_1280I try to write every day. This is a habit I began in the past couple of years and have enjoyed immensely. Well, I haven’t enjoyed it every day but most.

Here are my reasons for writing every day:

1. I wanted to write.
2. Writing each day builds a habit. Stopping, for me, even one day meant it was harder to get moving the next day.
3. Building this daily habit keeps the fingers and creativity limber. It also helps keep the crazies at bay.
4. The repeating habit tells my muse when to show up so writer’s block is kept to a minimum. I’m not sure that anything will stop it entirely but writing each day helps.
5. I am owning my writing and writing life.

Along the way, I decided that it didn’t matter what I wrote. It could be a journal entry, free write to a prompt or adding to a work in progress. It didn’t matter. What mattered is that I showed up each day and wrote. For me, the magic number was 500 words but I started out with one minute a day.

This habit began with a decision to write. I found an online group that supported my goal and I began. I still check in nearly every day. The accountability helps.

There are days where it is a struggle to reach my goal. On these days, I consider it a win if I get something down. On days where I reach 1000 word I bask in the feeling of accomplishment, but most days I just take what I can get.

One thing I’ve learned is that once this habit was created my brain wouldn’t let me rest until I got my writing done. I will admit it can be annoying when I want to take a break, however, I won’t reach my goals by not writing.

What goals do you work at every day and what are your top 5 reasons to keep going?