What is Your “WHY”?

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Why do you get up each morning?

To go to work at a thankless job? I work in non-profit, and although fulfilling, is a struggle.

To take care of your kids? I won’t even go there.

To simply get from one day to the next? Really?

So, what is your “Why”?

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. Between revamping my blog, writing fiction, and my day job I’ve been wondering what keeps me going.

Most of the time I believe passion is the key but in that, I seem to be burning myself out. At some level I am tired, bone deep tired.

But, I keep going. Here I am banging away at the keys, attempting to make sense of the jumbled thoughts in my head. I am planning my next novel to write during NaNoWriMo. And, I am still working on a business plan.

Why?

All I want to do most nights is to lose myself in some random show I’ve found on Netflix. I don’t want to think, feel or respond to anyone or anything with a glass of fuzzy memory at my side. Sleeping until noon sounds fabulous (there is a two-year-old who would destroy my house if I did that so why isn’t involved in this one).

Yet, I keep going.

Answering the “Why” seems to be the most difficult part, but I’ll try.

I love to write. I love to talk about writing although I struggle with talking about books. Apparently, I am not as well read as I think I am. I love to walk beside people as they work through their challenges and can grow in ways I had no idea they could. Cheering them on is wonderful

I love stories. I love to talk to people and hear their stories. I always want to find out what happens next and why did that person act that why, which is probably why I write.

Part of my “why” is I have unfulfilled dreams. Probably most people do but do they work toward them?

Some of the why is that I am ambitious. I want something more out of life although I’m still working on exactly what that is.

Some of the why is that I must. I have no words for this part of the why I continue to do what I do, only that I must.

Discovering your “Why” is probably one of the most important things you can do. Have you thought about it? Have you answered your “Why”?

The Need for Quiet

the-need-for-quietWe live in a noisy world. Yep, noise pollution is a thing.

Sometimes it comes with people. Other times it comes with the machines we can no longer live without.

Have you ever listened to the silence that comes when the power goes out of your home? That louder than thunder stillness in which you can hear your heart beat. You hear every creak of the house and every raindrop on the roof, wondering if you will ever be able to fall asleep.

When we lose power at home, I go a bit into survival mode, but once we have light and everyone is settled down, I grab my notebook and begin writing. Truly there is little else I can do when I want to enjoy that quiet.

Recently, I went to the yearly writing retreat with MidMichigan Writers. The members of this group try to retreat each year although it doesn’t always happen. It is simply a weekend away with like minded people. For those of us in the group, we talk about writing.

And, talk and talk about writing.

By the time that I arrived, I was in desperate need of some quiet time. I’d had a day filled with little ones and lots of frustrations. During the drive, I tried to decompress and had a bit of success but walking into the retreat space told me I hadn’t done enough.

I don’t know what the biggest turnout has been, but this group was large and loud. Loud in a good way except when you had a day like I did. I attempted to put my issues aside, even drinking some tea that helped me to settle in. Of course, politics being what they are this year, the conversation didn’t stop until the lights went out.

After getting up and having breakfast, I attempted to sit down and write.

Attempted is a good word for it. Nothing would come. There are days when the words just don’t come, and despair takes over. How could I not be able to write at a writing retreat? It probably happens more often than I think.

I decided that I needed to go out for a walk. I even declined any joiners on my walk because, more than the walk, I needed the quiet.

As I stepped out into the moist fall air, I took a breath and headed toward a small wooded neighborhood away from the main road. Along the way, I passed a couple who were busy planting hosta’s before the weather turns. Each step I took, I could feel peace taking over.

Once off the main road, I started a hawk who had been hunting. I only know this because I heard a panicked squeak in the tree where the hawk flew out. I tried to follow the hawk, but it disappeared into the trees. As I walked past houses, some seasonal and some permanent, most quite interesting, ideas began to flow through my brain. I hadn’t brought pen or paper, or my phone, so I decided to experience whatever I could.

My walk wasn’t long, and when I got back to the room, it was quiet. Unusually quiet. For a moment, I thought something was wrong, but everyone was writing. I didn’t join in the exercise, but I did sit down and write some of the thoughts I’d experienced on my walk.

I decided on that weekend that a walk is the cure for just about anything.

You should try it sometime.

Late by Intention

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I wanted to call this blog post “Whoopsy Wednesday” because my life became crazy enough that I missed my normal weekly post. I berated myself for this “lateness.”

 

 

In thinking about this “mistake” I’ve realized something I’ve talked about before: perfectionism is overrated. Sometimes what seems like a mistake is the universe’s way of letting you know something is out of wack. It is nature’s way of saying that you’ve still got work to do on your way to intentional living.

Living intentionally isn’t about being perfect and always hitting the mark you’ve set for yourself. Living intentionally means that even though sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, you can always move on to the next thing. Or, you can simply pause, gather yourself and breathe.

Recently, I listened to writer, Sue Merrell, speak at a local conference. She gave some great advice on writing that I believe applies to intentional living:

1. Look around
2. Write down what you see
3. Don’t give up

I am taking these words to heart and not just about my writing. This advice can be used in so many areas of life and art.

Lots of people have been using Sue’s advice without even knowing it.

It’s fall in Northern Michigan which means that there is so much color to take in. The skies have been particularly beautiful, especially sunrises and sunsets.

Now, my life has been just crazy enough that I’ve not paid attention but others that I know have noticed some wonderful sunrises for the past few days. They have looked around, snapped a picture and enjoyed the moment.

Here is one from a friend and fellow blogger:

Deb Thompson, Just Short of Crazy
Deb Thompson, Just Short of Crazy

 

Deb Thompson posted this picture earlier this week. Check out her travel, food and lifestyle blog at Just Short of Crazy. She goes to some amazing places and shares those experiences with her followers.

 

 

I’d say she took Sue’s admonitions to heart.

How To Gear Up For NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month begins in just a few weeks and if you haven’t begun to think about participating, it is time.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge that allows you to stretch yourself and grow and finally reach that dream to write a novel. The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. If you’ve participated in the past, then this is another chance to take the next step. As writers, we are continually learning and improving our craft, NaNoWriMo is another opportunity for growth while completing a piece of writing.

All that being said, November is not an easy month.

However, you can start right now to prepare for the difficulties that come with fast drafting a novel. Here are a few ideas:

Begin now: I’ve spoken to many writers who don’t cultivate the habit of writing every day. I subscribe to the thought that writing a minimum of words each day will improve your craft indescribably. For NaNoWriMo, the best thing you can do is develop this habit of daily writing before November arrives. Beginning today, write some words, decide on an amount, whether it is 100, 500, or 1000 words each day, and continue into November and after. Writers write. It is that simple and that difficult.

Make a Plan: A debate rages between planners and panthers on the value of planning out your novel. Planners, the extreme ones, prefer to have every chapter and scene outlined. Pantsers prefer to discover their story as they go. If one way or the other works for you, go for it. But if you are a pantser, having an idea and a place to reach won’t hurt you. A simple plan may make November a bit less stressful. For me, I will go somewhere in the middle, having a 7-point structure and some thoughts and ideas written out, means that I can let my characters tell me what is happening.

Find a Community: Writing is difficult, especially since it is done alone. Finding and connecting with a local or online group will create camaraderie and a bit of fun during what can be a challenging time. The NaNoWriMo.org site has a forum if you live out in the boonies as I do, to discover and connect with others who are furiously writing during November. Many regions have NaNo groups and offer events during October and November, it’s a great way to plug into others who share your aspirations.

Writing your novel during National Novel Writing Month is a challenging, and rewarding, endeavor. Whether or not you actually publish this particular piece of writing, you still showed up to the blank page.

And, that is worth celebrating!

Please let us know if you are participating!