Simplicity for Writing’s Sake

(Last week I was sick with a very sore throat…only felt like curling up with a good book and doing bare essentials. My voice is back, still trying to kick my writing back into gear. Figured I’d do a post for starters.)

Nice cup of tea and writing

Nice cup of tea and writing

What’s the most important thing a writer needs to do?…WRITE! This can get difficult when so many things get in the way. Any writer can probably list a zillion things which keep them from writing, we’re bombarded with distractions and interruptions on a daily basis. This is LIFE! Many writers will claim, because of all this it’s hard to find time to write.

Now, no one start throwing wads of balled up paper at me…I have TIME…I have time in excess! My problems are procrastinating and getting my head in the right spot.  I’ve become even a more full time caregiver to my spouse. He sleeps many hours a day, due to his health problems, so there’s plenty of uninterrupted writing time. I’m even one of those writers with a job allowing me time to write, though I don’t work many days a month.

The trouble is I feel so overwhelmed at times, it feels as if I’d need a backhoe to start digging my way out. After doing, what I guess you could call some soul searching, I think I’ve happened upon a solution of sorts. I’ve decided I need to start simplifying. It’ll be slow go, but it will feel like I’m getting somewhere and help me to clear my head, so I can write more productively.

I’m not giving up blogging, I’m too attached, but I am trying to reduce some of the other clutter in my life. It’s a reevaluation of sorts. These are some of the steps I’m going to take in an attempt to simplify life :

  • Unsubscribe from email newsletters no longer applicable or useful in my life(example-no longer homeschool, but still get homeschool newsletters)
  • Unfollow some blogs I’m just not so interested in or find helpful
  • Limit time spent on facebook—considering taking a facebook break for a few days as well as unfriending a few groups and people that post so much it’s overwhelming to sort through
  • Limit time spent on pinterest—this is a stress reducer for me—usually good with my time, just need to continue
  • Try not to have internet up if writing on computer unless : 1. need for reference–sometimes use Dictionary.com to look up words I’m not sure about; or 2. to listen to my favorite YouTube playlist while I write–Soothing Music

I’m going to head to the kitchen for a hot cup of herbal tea, hit the play button on my favorite music CD, and sit at the kitchen table writing with pen and paper.  Have you thought of ways you can free up your mind and your life, so you can write or write more effectively? Happy writing… 🙂

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Writing What You Know

There is much to be said for the saying, “Write what you know”. If we’re writing about things we know about, those are likely to be the things we are passionate about, hence it will probably be  better writing and very interesting reading . As a reader, I love reading something I can tell the writer has a lot of passion for, so it works. It’s not boring writing.

I’ve been thinking about this some lately. There are many things I think I’m overlooking. I’m missing the mark and not writing about the things sitting in front of my face that I truly “know” about. I love to cook, especially baking and I crochet a lot. I enjoy blogging. I use herbs and aromatherapy every single day. I’m a caregiver for a family member.

Those are just a few of the things I can list that I do on a normal basis. What I need to do is think what I can do with that list? Well, having a sick spouse, too much time on my hands, and a bit of depression is not always conducive to thinking clearly. Given enough time, however, I am sorting myself ought of the fog I’ve been in and coming up with ideas. (Knowing you can’t just do nothing forever can also give you a swift kick in the pants for incentive.)

This week I have begun to write more, which I’ve desperately been needing to do. I’ve had some days I wasted away my time with online social media, like pinterest . My time online has not been a total loss though, as I’ve discovered some great recipes to try out and found many places I could possibly write guest blog posts. I’ve even applied to a couple of writing jobs found at FWJ(Freelance Writing Jobs).

Here’s a list of a few possible writing projects I need to be working on :

* Guest blog posts (possible topics – crochet, sewing, craft projects, nursing, caregiving)
* Ebook about caregiving
* Local magazines – submit recipes
* Craft magazines – could get creative and write a pattern for original crochet creations

If you are in a writing rut or just starting out, maybe a good place to begin is make a list or a couple of lists. I’m a list nut! 🙂 One list is a list of every topic you know something about and your talents. This will give you ideas for writing. The next list is just start a list of everyplace you find you may be able to find homes for your writing, then get writing.

I haven’t figured out a good method to organize the information yet, but I do like to print out writer’s or submission guidelines for those places I’m interested in submitting my work too. For now, I keep them in a basket with a cloth liner. Maybe I need to look at some kind of notebook system. If you have a way that works for you, please share and if I get it figured out, I’ll do the same.

Any thoughts or ideas welcome… 🙂

Happy writing… 🙂

Fresh Start to 2013

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in curs...

Image of a modern fountain pen writing in cursive script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s hoping 2013 will be a better year. I’m recharged and planning to leave the past in the past. I’m ready to make a fresh start in 2013. This will mean some changes, so please be patient with me.

I will be playing around with my blog a little(already changed the theme today). Just trying some new things out. Will take some time till I get things comfortable and sorted out. It’s like rearranging furniture.

I’m trying to motivate myself as well, so I guess creating some goals are the way to go. I’ve given this some thought. I did try to make sure I have realistic goals, so I don’t set myself up for failure. A big part of being realistic is knowing I have a bit of a chaotic life most of the time. Without further adieu, here are the goals…

Writing Goals for 2013 :
(will be doing more writing than this, but it’s a start)
1. Blog twice a week(continued from 2012-failed last year 😦 )

2. Read 2 books per month

3. Complete the 100k in 100 days Challenge(read more about over at Quiller’s Place or 100k in 100 days facebook group)

4. Find and join a local writer’s group

5. Finish poetry book

6. Work on revamping blog a bit

Feel free to share your thoughts and maybe some of your goals for 2013… 🙂

Sweet Treats

Christmas

Christmas

I have a few treats to share today. My sweetest treat is my first official poem has been published at The Barefoot Review in the Winter 2012 issue. I hope you’ll pop over and read it.

I’ve also been nominated for the Beautiful Blogger award from Vikki over at The View Outside blog. Not doing it properly yet, will try to do catch up, but wanted to take time to say “Thank You”. I know some beautiful bloggers I’d like to nominate too.

Another sweet treat, I discovered yesterday over at the Mere Inkling blog, while reading about personal libraries.  There’s an offer to send off for 10 free letterpress bookmarks, just at the cost of an envelope and SASE. You can find out more about the offer over at Peach Farm Studio. It expires soon, requests have to be there by December 31st.

The last sweet treat is the recipe for my now official favorite treat…decadent chocolate meringues. I have to make more as we ate the first batch. 🙂 These are really easy to make. I use my kitchen mixer to whip them up as I’ve never had success whipping egg whites by hand. The mixer makes quick work of it.

Put 2 egg whites, 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract in the mixer bowl. Beat till soft peaks form, then gradually add in 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 1/2 cup of sugar, beating till stiff peaks form. May take about 7 or 8 minutes.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet. I try to swirl it around with the spoon and leave it with a nice pretty peak on top. Bake at 225 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. These last a long time and are great for gift giving to the chocolate lovers in your life.

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Merry Christmas!!! 🙂

Writing Balance

Balance

Balance (Photo credit: kmakice)

Balance is something I have been struggling with for a while, and this being December, means it is an even more unattainable goal. My blogging will suffer a bit this month. I turn into crafting and baking mode like mad in December. I’ve been crocheting gifts galore. I read a post over on ChantelC’s blog about perseverance tonight, go take a peek. It was interesting and got me to thinking about how my life is a continual battle to persevere. I think one of the biggest part’s of the battle for me is trying to find balance.

It’s a struggle and my life always seems to be in varying states of chaos. Writing, while a source of great joy in my life, has brought it’s own baggage to the balance equation. I have to be careful to balance finding enough time to write with spending time accomplishing other tasks involved in living like cleaning house, being with family, and working enough to pay the bills. Of course, I must also ward off the time vampires called social media and surfing the net(vicious little time consumers).

As if it’s not enough to get better at time management, there must also be balance in sharing enough in writing without sharing too much. I want my writing to speak truth, but reserved. I’m a southern gal, so there are some things I will never quite feel comfortable airing publicly and there are things you honestly just don’t want to know. There is also the people pleasing aspect and not wanting to offend, but I’m realistic enough to know you can’t please everyone and I won’t try to, I will have my say. I just don’t want my voice to come at the expense of others.

Until this year I had been quiet for so much of my life, that discovering the power of writing, was like letting a lion out of it’s cage. I just have to be careful and quiet the lion a little. Sometimes it wants to speak up too much. Those times I have to moderate myself before posting a comment on a blog or posting a facebook comment. I try to balance my need to speak up with compassion for others and being discreet. For example, there are some things about children or spouses, which should not be blogged. I try hard to just put some thoughts to bed in my secret journal.

Sometimes an escape happens. Usually it’s okay as what escapes often winds up a riddle most people would not be able to decipher without knowing more about my life. I just take comfort in the fact the riddles voice truths even if they are missing parts. In case I seem to be speaking in riddles right now, here’s an example of something I posted once : “Whoever said ‘silence is golden’ must never have had their voice squashed so many times.” I was feeling so strongly in the moment and wanted to say something and not silently in my journal either. The obvious truth was there, but I just left out assigning the tell tell details.

What areas do you struggle to find balance in as a writer? Thoughts on truth in writing?…

Writing Habits and Music ~ ♪

Music guitar

Music guitar (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Everyone who writes has their favorite writing spots and habits. There are different things that work for different people. We just each have to find out what it is that helps our drive to write and encourages the flow of words. I’ve taken to being more observant about many things in life, including my writing habits. Even about ourselves, I don’t know that we always realize things right away. I thought I’d share a bit about my writing habits I’ve discovered and share some music.

I write anytime an idea strikes in my head on whatever is available. Notebooks abound in my home and I usually carry one with me. If a notebook isn’t readily available to grab, then I have written on the back of random receipts found in my purse or snatched the magnetic paper shopping list from the fridge. Sometimes I’ll start typing away directly on the computer, but most often I’ll type things into the computer after writing them on paper. The main thing is to write something down before I forget it!

My favorite planned time to write is first thing in the morning. I’m not an early riser, but I am usually up by about seven. Mornings work for me, because I can be quiet with my thoughts without interruption.  My family usually doesn’t get up and get moving till later in the morning, sometimes as late as ten or ten thirty. This means I can easily get two or three undisturbed hours to write.

Being quiet with my thoughts, doesn’t mean silence for me though. I like to be alone without anyone talking to me or needing anything from me, but I’m not so wild about silence. Music helps to settle my mind. It puts me more at ease for thoughts to freely flow and my fingers to write or type. Sometimes I just have one of my favorite music CDs playing, but often I’ll have one of my YouTube playlist playing in the background on the computer.  Making a music playlist on YouTube is something new I learned this year from a blogger whose blog is now no longer in existence, but I am grateful none the less.

This year I’ve also been exposed to a wider variety of music and found quite a bit I actually really like, including some songs from my daughter. Typically I have been a country and bluegrass music kind of gal. Those types of music still have a place in my heart, but I’ve been listening to the other music lately, some of which I’m not even sure what categories they really are. I just know I like the songs. Here’s a playlist of my favorite songs I like to write by : Soothing Music Playlist.

It’s been a productive morning, though now it’s lunch time. Besides this blog post, I also managed to write a little over 2,000 words on my next memoir. As I wrote, I enjoyed a nice hot cup of earl grey tea too. Another one of my habits. I like to have either a nice cup of hot tea or a glass of sweet iced tea as I write. I encourage you to take a look at your writing habits. Notice what works and notice if there are some tweaks you think may need made so you can write more productively or peacefully.

Share your thoughts? What have you found helps you to write?… 🙂

Good News and Writers’ Notebooks

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Selena and her Bird Housing Development Photo

Yesterday was a good day and we’ve been needing some good days around our house.  My daughter had entered three of her photographs this past weekend in the Autumn Arts 2012 Art Show held at Vance-Granville Community College.  We went last night to see how the judging went and found she received an honorable mention for her photo “Bird Housing Development”.  She was thrilled.

Bird Housing Development

Bird Housing Development

After returning home, I checked my email and found I had good news as well.  I  had an email with the subject line “congratulations”.  Yes!  I was so excited.  Something I wrote got accepted rather than rejected.  I’ve been accumulating quite a pile of those(rejections that is).

My piece, “Diagnoses : An Unwanted Collection”, was submitted to The Barefoot Review and will be published in the winter issue, which will be public December 21st.  Thankfully December is right around the corner, so it won’t be a long wait.  I’ll try to remember to post a link to it then.

Just a little side note about writers’ notebooks since it seems I keep tripping on information about them.  Most writers, it seems, keep a writer’s notebook or several of them to jot down ideas as they strike or work on chosen pieces of writing.  Everyone has their preference from fancy to basic spiral bound notebooks.

I usually have at least two notebooks in constant use and prefer “pretty” spiral bound notebooks.  My notebooks tend to be a random accumulation, though lately I have taken to trying to keep one strictly poetry related and the other for everything else writing related.  Occasionally I sit down going through my notebooks to see if there is anything I need to refer back to like a list of writing ideas or a poem I haven’t yet typed into the computer.

My normal method to track those stray pages that need dealt with, but are strewn through various spots in assorted notebooks, is to put a post-it flag on the page so it sticks out.  The post-it flag is removed after I transcribe the information on the page into the computer.  The downside to this method is it can be time consuming and every so often a post-it flag accidentally falls out.  Here is a blog post I read yesterday about writers’ notebooks, which had an interesting idea I’m thinking of trying.  It was simply to number the pages in your notebook.  I don’t think it’d take long to write a number on each page corner and maybe it’d be easier to find stuff.

My "Pretty" Writer's Notebooks and Journal(center)

My “Pretty” Writer’s Notebooks and Journal(center)

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