Monthly Archives: June 2012

Falling Behind


I’ve fallen a bit behind in the 15 Habits challenge and wanted to catch up.

Day 9 – Connecting

If you read, you reach out to other readers and exchange titles you have enjoyed.  If you craft, you find other crafters and spend full afternoons crafting.  There are hundreds of clubs and organizations to help pique and guide any interest you may have.  Yet, going to a writers group invoked fear and insecurity in me like nothing else.  The important thing is, I went.  I met some wonderful women, walked away encouraged and ready to tackle some of the projects that are floating around in my head.

Day 10 – Share Others’ Work:  This is an easy thing for me to do as I have a blog roll that grows every day.  Here are a few posts I think are great.

Jenny Dykstra – Let People ______ – I found her blog through an online magazine.  Her writing is honest and inspiring.

Picnics in the Park – When Men Craft: a Diorama Party – My friend Greta is a wonderful writer and does amazing things like throw her hubby a diorama birthday party!

how Sweet it is – Fat Fluffy Snickerdoodles – I love Jessica’s attitude and these are THE BEST snickerdoodles you will ever eat.

Day 11 – Declutter

Jeff wants me to declutter my writing and my workspace.  I have been cleaning my office and organizing/purging for the last couple weeks.  (I’m down to just a few more piles!)  When Jeff mentioned dcluttering my writing, it made me think of this piece by Donald Miller – Treat the word “That” like a cuss word.  (I have some work to do in this area.)

So here’s to:

– amazing bloggers and writers that inspire
– getting to the heart of a thought
– continuing to rise to a challenge




Day 8 – Starting vs. Building

“Building” something creatively happens the same it does in the “real” world — with a lot of sweat and pain and grunting. It’s not easy; if it is, you’re doing it wrong. – Jeff Goins

Well, I must be doing something right!  Right now every strike of the keyboard seems to be with sweat, pain and grunting.  I am learning right now to quiet (lock in a closet) my inner editor, she has something to say about each word that is written as it is being put on the page.  She distracts me.  She frustrates me.  She discourages me to the point that I want to shut down the laptop and walk away.  My victory comes when I don’t allow her to run my time.

Our challenge today is to finish something, just pick a project and complete it.  I am going to take this head on.  There is a 500 word project that I want to submit for a competition.  I have two ideas written out already, and a couple more that I want to try.  My goal is to have this completed and sent out to a couple of readers today.

My motivation for today is this quote.

“Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.”  Truman Capote

Stealing 101


Day 6 – Great Artists/Writers Steal

I love quotes.  I have a file in my computer of favorite quotes.  I have a pile of post-it notes and scraps of paper with quotes and notes written on them floating around my desk.  One of my Pintrest boards is devoted to words and quotes.  It’s a wonderful thing to come across something that someone else has said and it perfectly summarizes your thoughts or feelings in that moment.

I love art and crafts.  There is nothing that I have done that I thought up on my own.  Dreamer (a project I did last fall) was a direct copy from another blogger.

I love to cook.  I’m pretty good at seasoning a dish or adding an extra dash of vanilla or cinnamon to a batch of cookies.  But give me a cookbook?  I’ll sit down and read it like a novel.  I’ll go back to those recipes time and time again, tested and true.

And my guilty pleasure? Eavesdropping.  I have been known to carry on a conversation while listening to the conversation at the next table.  It’s amazing what people are willing to share in public (because they think no one is listening).  Or to see the interaction of a family.  These are tidbits and stories to be used.

I confess, I steal all the time.  I look for quotes to share, new projects to try and recipes to complete.  Because this thievery is in my nature, I know that it has and will continue to bleed over into my writing.  I am inspired by others and the life that they share with the rest of the world.

With this thought, I share with you a list, published in Lists to Live By.

12 Steps to Creative Thinking – by James Lund

1. Right Away, Write It Down – Record ideas as soon as you think of them.  Keep paper and pen handy at all times – in your car, by your television, on your nightstand.

2. Listen to Music – Listen to whatever sparks your imagination, whether its Bach, the Beatles or something you’ve never heard before.

3. Exercise – Go for a run, shoot some hoops, do jumping jacks – anything that starts your blood pumping and keeps your mind sharp.

4. Brainstorm with a Friend, Co-Worker or Six Year-Old – Talk with someone who looks at the world a little differently that you do.  Chances are he or she will inspire a new approach.

5. Do It Poorly – If you’re a perfectionist, don’t be.  Create something that isn’t necessarily your best work, but that gets the job done.  Then go back later to fix it or redo it.

6. Watch People – Go downtown or to the mall, sit on a bench and observe the passerby.  Imagine what kind of life they lead.

7. Keep a Journal – Write about your life and what’s important to you, then revisit your old thoughts when you need new ideas.

8. Pray or Read the Bible – Putting life into spiritual perspective can take the pressure off and jump-start the creative juices.

9. Free-Write – Sit down at the computer or with pen and paper and write whatever comes into your mind.  You might be surprised at what comes out.

10. Change Your Locale – Find a new quiet place – a park, the beach, a library, or just a different room – let your mind wander.

11. Wash the Dishes or Mow the Lawn – It’s easy and it give you a feeling of accomplishment while you’re trying to think.

12. Sleep on It – If nothing is working, your best bet may be to give up for now.  Let your subconscious create overnight and you’ll have fresh ideas tomorrow.

Don’t Do Nothing


Day 4 – Practice in Public.

This day is really hard.  Today’s challenge lead to a 1400 word rant about failure and pain, I held nothing back, I named names and laid it all out.  Needless to say, it is NOT fit for public consumption.  The perfectionist in me wants to rise above and meet this head on, the fearful spirit in me wants to quit and run away.  A compromise had to be reached.

1. I am going to work and finish a short story that I started last fall.  I would love to say this will be finished and published today, or even this weekend, but for me, finishing is the goal.

2. I am including a short “Where I’m From” poem that I wrote in a class last year.  I loved the practice of writing something short and personal.  Hope you enjoy it.

Where I’m from

I am from the house at the end of the cul-de-sac,
The one with the two small willow trees out front.
Where we played four square and kick-the-can until dinner time was announced.

I am from Fourth of July block parties.
Where the dad’s turned to pyro’s and played like children in the fireworks glow.

I am from meatballs and chocolate covered cherries.
From Ilene and Josephine
Generous and Stubborn and Loving

I am from my father’s bass, singing the echo in each hymn
I am from my mother’s memory
Knowing each generation of cousin’s removed and recalling the scent of my grandfather’s coat.

I am from my grandfather’s red hair
That my sister received by birth, and I received by box

I am from the kids table at Thanksgiving
From Christmas’s that centered on the ‘reason for the season’
From Easter baskets that never quite amused me like it did my mom

I am from freckles and birthmarks
From reading and singing
And pictures that last longer in the printing than in my memory


Two Hours Early


Day 2 Challenge – Get up 2 hours early on day 3 and write.  Write for 2 solid hours?  This presented a few challenges for me.

1. When to actually get up and get going.  Right now, 2 hours early is a relative term.  Since I’m not working, timing of getting up/waking up/getting out of bed has fluctuated between 6:30 and 10.

2. Where to write.  My office?  The living room?  The kitchen table?

3. What to write about?  Stream of consciousness?  Start a project?  Blog post?  Will there be any words at all?

So yesterday I planned and worried.  I planned to get out of bed by 7am.  I planned to write in my office, which involved a serious amount of clean up.  (Seems my office had become the junk catch-all room for the last few months.)  I worried about how and what to write.  Pen to paper or finger to keyboard?  Worry is a demon that will try and choke the life out of all plans and dreams.

This morning I am happy to report that I met all of my challenges.  I was out of bed by 6:50, walked into my clean office, turned on the laptop and wrote for two hours.

On to Day 3.

Well, I do declare!


I’m not even gonna look and see how long its been since I last posted.  I’m not going to go on and on and on about all the changes that have come about in the last few months (well at least not yet).  And I’m not going to admit how many times I’ve wanted and needed to write here and just haven’t.

So what’s different about today?  Today I decided to accept a challenge.  To push myself to do better.  To create and share my heart.

Jeff Goins has created a 15 day workshop for “Mastering the Habits of Great Writers“.  I saw a tweet and blog post about it on Saturday and it has since become a siren’s call that I can not ignore.

Today’s task is seemingly simple.  To declare that you are a writer.  But the task for me is a heavy one, who do I tell?  My darling husband?  My trusted girlfriends?  I can hear the responses now… “We know, we’re just waiting for you to start.”

The scariest place of all for me to utter this declaration is here.  Where it will be seen by family, friend, foe and you who may not know me at all.  To say these words that will forever be a part of the cloud that is the internet.

Well, here I go.  I am ready to dive in and commit to my dream.

I. Am. A. Writer.