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?

Blog Vacation

blackboard-620314_1280Something unintentional happened this week. I took a vacation from my blog. I didn’t stop writing but writing a blog post was more than I could handle.

I had intended to talk about plans for the future, NaNoWriMo, and just life in general. But that didn’t happen.

What did happen is exhaustion, new responsibilities and just not enough hours in the day.

I’m sure that just about everyone can relate to this.

When I began my blog I didn’t have a clear picture of what I wanted to talk about. I took a blogging class where having a mission statement was one of the most important things.

I don’t have one.

What I do have is a desire to share my journey into life, writing and otherwise.

My journey is one of continuous exploration and the drive to live my life fully. If sharing this journey resonates with someone, then I this is my mission.

For the next month, I have a plan. It’s not a great plan and we’ll see how it goes, but it’s something.

Starting November 1st, I will be working on my second novel. I’m still in the revision process of my first one, but I think I need to begin the next one. I am still in the planning stage though I have a lot of that done. I will be ready to begin next Sunday.

For this blog and for at least the next month, my plan is to complete two blog posts each week. Sunday and Wednesdays are the days I hope to be scheduling these posts. I will apologize ahead of time. During November, these will most likely be about NaNoWriMo and the struggles I will be enduring.

I expect to have some challenges during the month of November, both for my writing and my “other” life. You know the one I am talking about. The one that subsidies my writing life. I’ve had big changes in that area and things are not likely to calm down in the near future. Life will be interesting for the next couple of months.

Thanks for following along with this journey and I hope you continue to follow.

Friday Five: Attitude of Gratitude

 One of the things I’ve been thinking about and practicing lately is to look for things to be grateful for. It is so easy to get caught up in problems and issues. I’ve found it harder to find gratitude in my daily life.

Keeping a gratitude journal is one way to be thankful for each day. However, this is a journal that I struggle to keep. A suggestion for this journal is to write three things each evening before bed. I tend to forget.

This is my alternative. A Friday Five post dedicated to some things I am grateful right now:

  1.  Warm October days with blue skies and the trees finally in full color and all the things that come with these days, i.e. pumpkin patch visits, caramel apples and falling leaves.
  2. Pippa – My 5:00 am alarm clock on Saturdays when I could sleep in. 
  3. Hot coffee with just the right amount of sweetness.
  4. The ladies I work with – Regardless of what is happening around us, I know I can count on them for anything.
  5. Grandbabies – Need  I say more? 
  6.  

I’m sure this list is much longer. There are so many things in my life that I am grateful for maybe I should work on that gratitude journal again.

How do you remember to be grateful for all the things in your life?

 

100th Blog Post

sparklers-923527_1920This post marks the 100th time I’ve published something on my blog. When I created this site, I thought 100 posts was an impossible achievement. Turns out, it just takes time.

I’ve learned many lessons over the past months, almost too many to talk about here. That is probably a future post.

As I write this 100th post, my mind is on the stories I’ve been working on and the challenge I’ve set for myself.

In the next month, I may or may not be available. November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated, and I have signed up again. Come November 1st I will be sitting at my computer pounding out 1667 words a day toward my goal of 50,000 words. that is the minimum of what it takes to complete the challenge.

My own personal goal is to write about 2000 words each day. It’s a doable number and, yet, still gives me room to have days where the words aren’t flowing as well.

That being said, I still have a blog. This isn’t something I am willing to set aside for a month while I am working on my novel. I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with a plan to accomplish both.

One way is to do what I’ve been doing with my normal weekly posts. That has been working for the most part, but November is different. I have a lot more going on and that may be difficult.

Late last month, I had a flash of inspiration. An idea came to me to write a short story and post it as a serial story on my blog throughout the month. I’ve been working on something but I’m not sure it will be complete in time. I’m not giving up on this idea, but we’ll see what happens.

For now, continue to expect 2-3 posts each week. I plan to update everyone on my progress at the very least.

November will be an interesting month.

I am excited about this year’s NaNo project. I have worked on a plan that is nearly complete though there are a few things left to do. Things like creating a scene list (yes I am going there) and research. I still have lots and lots of research to do.

As this is my 100th post, I am no longer considered a newbie writer. My brain is still trying to catch up to this idea. Pushing the publish button is easier now but I am often still anxious. I wonder if that will ever leave.

So here is to the next 100 posts. May they be interesting and full of beautiful words. At the very least, let them not be dull, or worse, breaking grammar rules.

Thank you for being part of this journey.

Friday Five: Journaling for Growth

book-758384_1280When I began this blog, I had visions of a blog about all things journaling. I’ve been a journaler since I purchased my first journal when I was about 13 years old. I still remember that book. It was blue satin and had birds on it. There was a slightly Asian theme. I don’t have that book anymore, but I still remember the joy I had of writing down my thoughts and memories.

I haven’t been a faithful journaler though I have always had a journal somewhere in my possession. There were months, even years where I didn’t write a single word. I never gave up on it.

A couple of years ago, I began to write in my journal daily. I have been dedicated to this practice as I have seen change and growth in my life. I’ve blogged about some of those changes. Journaling is one way to make and document changes in life.

I am not the only one who believes this. Julia Cameron, The Artist Way, also believes in journaling. She as a practice called ‘morning pages’ in which she encourages freewriting first thing in the morning. Her recommendation is about three pages of unedited, free flowing words. While this isn’t always easy, it is a great practice.

Sometimes getting started on journaling is difficult. The blank page can be intimidating and beginning is so hard. One way to get past this, until you develop a habit, is to use prompts. I believe I used prompts for the first couple of months. Now, I simply begin with those thoughts I wake up with, or are just on my mind a lot, and go from there.

Today’s Friday Five is dedicated to prompts. I would encourage anyone interested in journaling to use one or more of these. These prompts can be repeated. In fact, one journaling technique I’ve read about and used is to write to the same prompt each day for a week. That is the great thing about journaling. There is no wrong way to fill a notebook.

On to the prompts:

1. What’s great about your life?

2. I remember…

3. My favorite day…

4. Find a photo of yourself as a child. Think back to when you were that age. What did you dream about or hope for?

5. What I am really afraid of is …

My journal isn’t fancy, not for my morning pages. I use ordinary school composition books. They are large enough and lay flat to make the writing easier. Use whatever you prefer. Journals are one of those things that I get excited about when I see though I tend to prefer simple ones now.

For the people I work with I encourage them to begin with a 5-minute timer. You can go longer if things are going well, but 5 minutes isn’t a lot of time out of your day to complete some self-care. Journaling is most definitely about taking care of yourself.

And, it’s important to take care of yourself – after all – if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

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.

Friday Five: October Favorites

pumpkins-504120_1280If I must choose, fall is my favorite time of year. And, I like October the best of all the fall months.

I’m sure if I were to list the reasons there would be so many more than five.

Before I get to my actual list of October favorites (if these are duplicates from September, I apologize), there is something remarkable, for me at least, about this month. It is kind of an anniversary for me.

One year ago I began a writing challenge by Jeff Goins called My 500 Words. The goal of this challenge is to write at least 500 words each day. I have had a remarkable year of meeting this goal nearly every day. My writing has reached new heights and I am excited to see what this next year will bring.

Now for my October favorites:

It’s pumpkin season – Notice that I didn’t say pumpkin spice but just pumpkins. While I do like some pumpkin-flavored treats, I enjoy going to the pumpkin patch and picking one out. Whether or not I carve the pumpkin, coming home to one sitting on my stoop makes my heart happy.

Caramel apples – This Friday Five is a continuation of last months favorites. We have a candy shop across from my office that has the most amazing caramel apples. Outside of the normal nutty caramel, they make a chocolate covered salted caramel apple that is my current favorite.

Changing of the leaves – The fall color change has come late to northern Michigan this year. leaves-18051_1280The trees are just beginning to change and we are still looking forward to the fall color season. I can’t wait to see the woods in flaming colors.

Layers of clothes – This may seem like a strange one, but I like wearing layers of clothes along with a colorful scarf.  This time of year, especially in Michigan, the weather you wake up to may not be the weather you go to sleep to. Most definitely keeps life interesting.

Hocus Pocus – I love this movie and am looking forward to enjoying this fall. I have a couple of friends who share this love and we are planning a viewing night along with spooky cocktails. Can’t wait.

These are some of my favorite things about this month. What are yours?