Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Chautauqua-A Writer’s Dream

June 18, 2014

I admit that I signed up for the Writers’ Festival at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York without really understanding what it would entail and how much I would actually get out of it. I’ve been to a fair number of conferences at this point but most of them have been more of the lecture and presentation variety rather than Chautauqua’s focus on daily small group workshops and multiple readings and panels by both the “experts” and anyone else who wants to give things like “Open Mic” a try (I wasn’t quite up for that yet but I really enjoyed listening to others read from their work).You also get an individual conference with your small group leader, which was immensely helpful for me in focusing what I’m trying to accomplish.

One of the best things that happens at Chautauqua is that you experience total immersion in everything literary. From 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. you are busy doing something that has to do with writing or reading or you’re eating a meal or having a drink with other writers. Because the Festival fee includes everything, you don’t have to think about mundane things like jobs, volunteer work, cooking, cleaning, laundry, children, other family members, and pets. All you have to worry about is getting to different rooms on time so you don’t miss anything! And the Festival organizers clearly “get” us. They’ve built in time for just sitting on the spacious hotel porch overlooking the lake and thinking, time to write quietly wherever you’re most comfortable, and time to take a walk or get some other type of exercise. The whole atmosphere evokes the literary retreats of old and most of the four days feels like you are in this blissful writing bubble.

My group was nonfiction, historical and memoir, and there were 12 of us from all over the United States and all ages and walks of life, along with our fearless leader, Patsy Sims. Despite the fact that five members had MFA’s from Goucher College in Maryland and some of us were just starting to dip our toes in the water of serious writing, we instantly bonded, both as a group, and with Patsy. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t feel comfortable offering constructive criticism or suggestions, or asking questions, about each other’s works-in-progress though. In fact it was quite the opposite. As a result, I came away from the four days with all sorts of practical ways to increase my writing skills, a seemingly endless reading list (thanks Tandy!) and a better sense of where I’m heading with the book I’d like to write and how I can get there.

When I first walked through the front doors of the Athenaeum Hotel, I was apprehensive and intimidated, not sure that me, or my writing, would measure up to the other participants. When I left, I felt like I was finally part of a real writing community and that I had made some connections that I hope will last for a long time, with people that love words and their endless possibilities as much as I do. I look at the picture that Bob took on our last day of us all standing together in our little conference room and I smile, thinking to myself,”This is my tribe.”

Do Comics Count?

June 1, 2014

Do comic books count as “real” literature and reading material? Twenty years ago my answer would have been an unequivocal NO! But then my son Calvin was born. I have been a voracious reader since day one. My mother read to me, took me to the library, and bought me books for birthdays, holidays, and just for fun. Naturally I did the same for my three boys and the first two followed in my literary footsteps like ducks take to water. The third son, Calvin, started out like them but, by the time he was in first grade it had became apparent that, though he loved to have others read to him, he had no interest in picking up a book on his own. What to do? After wailing and gnashing my teeth for a while, I decided that the situation called for some type of innovative strategy. That’s when I thought of Calvin and Hobbes, the much beloved comic strip by the elusive Bill Watterson. After all, what adventurous and active young boy could resist the allure of a book that featured a hero with his own name? And, who wouldn’t love a loyal stuffed tiger with the voice of reason? I rushed to Barnes and Noble and quickly purchased a book to try out my latest idea on Calvin Henninger. This proved to be one of the smartest parenting moves I ever made. The comic strip panels in the book were short enough to be manageable for my young son to handle on his own, engaging enough for me that I didn’t mind reading them over and over to him when he was too tired to read on his own, and funny enough that soon our whole family became huge fans of Calvin, Hobbes, and the various other colorful characters in the books. Calvin is the little kid we all can identify with, slightly weird, with a vivid imagination, a touch of compassion, an indomitable spirit, and a twisted sense of humor. Watterson is spot-on with everything he writes. We all had a teacher like Mrs. Wormwood, a babysitter like Rosalind, or a pesky neighbor like Susie. If we didn’t have a “Get Rid of Slimy Girls” club and a tree fort, we wished we did. And Calvin’s snowmen are the stuff legends are made of!

Gradually my Calvin segued into story books and then chapter books, something I’m convinced never would have happened had we not used the lovable comic strips as a springboard. However, even though I knew I’d done the right thing, and really enjoyed reading them myself (though I’m not normally a huge fan of comics), there was still a part of me that was embarrassed that I had resorted to comics to raise a reader.

Then a young man, about my Cal’s age now, started a Kickstarter campaign and released a Netflix documentary called “Dear Mr. Watterson” about the huge impact the comic had made on readers over the years. The interviews in it made me realize that my experience with the comic wasn’t mine alone; it was universal. Those of us who spent time with Calvin and Hobbes have a special bond, an understanding of life that unites us and, I believe, makes us all better people for it. As I watched the documentary with my son, I began to understand just how much our whole family had gained from reading every single Calvin and Hobbes book over and over. As the film showed different clips from the books, I felt like I had come home again and I found myself laughing out loud at the way the characters seemed so real to me and at how joyful I felt to be reunited with them. I also felt an incredible sadness that Mr. Watterson has retired Calvin and Hobbes because, honestly, I would have gone on reading about them forever. That, to me, is the true mark of a good writer.

These days my Calvin is a creative writing major and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Bill Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes were a huge influence in his career choice, the characters he creates and , above all, his crazy sense of humor. So today,  when people question the validity of comic books as literature, I find myself one of the genre’s staunchest defenders. Thank you Mr. Watterson!

What’s in my Texas Travel Journal-Part II?

May 28, 2014

When my son was admitted to Southern Methodist University, though the music program there was phenomenal, I must admit that I was slightly uneasy. The culture, beliefs, and attitudes in Texas seemed very different from what we were used to in upstate New York.

In fact, in the 1960’s, Dallas was frequently referred to as “the city of hate”. Fifty years later many things have definitely changed for the better. For example, there is a thriving arts district and an eclectic food scene. As a musician, my son has spent time in the arts venues there, including the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, permanent home of the nationally recognized Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House (which hosts a wide variety of arts performances, including things like “Matilda The Musical” and Conor Oberst and the Dallas City Performance Hall, which aims to host performances that reflect the diversity of the city. Close by, there’s also the Dallas Museum of art (free!) and the Nasher Sculpture Center (nashersculpturecenter.org). There’s also this really cool urban green space, the Klyde Warren Park, a 5.2-acre deck park built over the recessed Woodall Rodgers Freeway between Pearl and St. Paul streets in downtown Dallas. The park has food trucks, games like ping pong, a playground, and a dog park. Fantastic place to people watch or to be the “I” in the Big.

Ray's Graduation-2014 022    Klyde Warren Park

In the four years Ray has been in Dallas, I haven’t had one bad meal. We have been hearing about Jimmy’s Fine Italian Food and Wine(http://www.jimmysfoodstore.com) forever. So it seemed only fitting that we check it out and we weren’t disappointed. My Italian beef sandwich was mouth-watering and my men all liked the muffuletta, both its size and the taste! We also checked out a few taco places and were especially captivated by the nighttime atmosphere of Velvet Taco (along with the street corn). But, in the grand tradition of saving the best for last, our graduation dinner at Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar (http://sissyssouthernkitchen.com) was unbelievable! From the outside you would never guess what gastronomic pleasures await you inside the restaurant. It’s traditional southern home cooking with just enough of a twist to make you feel like you’re being adventurous and somewhat healthy. For example we started off with squash puppies, oven-roasted collard greens, and chili-fried oysters with spicy mayonnaise. We then moved on to chicken fried flat-iron steak and crispy Texas catfish. But the crowning glory was the fried chicken; house-spiced, pressure-fried, and buttermilk-soaked for 24-hours. We all agreed that it was the most tender, tastiest chicken we have ever had in our lives (and we have tried lots of fried chicken!) It was even better when we ate it cold the next morning! Sadly, there was no room for desert but we will be sure to return as soon as possible.

 However, even with all these great discoveries, we also made time to visit Dealey Plaza, the “grassy knoll”, and to walk past the outside of the Texas School Book Depository. After all at the risk of sounding trite, we all know that those who forget history are often doomed to repeat it.

 

What’s in my Texas Travel Journal?

May 22, 2014

Having just returned from a marathon drive to Dallas for my oldest son’s graduation, I feel like once again I’ve gotten a glimpse of America that you just don’t seem to get from the sky or the rails. I’ll be writing a few posts about what we saw and did in the hopes of encouraging any readers who have been contemplating a road trip to fill up the gas tank and hit the highway this summer!

First stop was the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel (http://civilrightsmuseum.org) in Memphis, TN.

 National Civil Rights Museum-Memphis-2014 010

Other than knowing that the motel was the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, I didn’t really have any idea what to expect from my visit but I was looking forward to learning more about the Civil Rights era from a southern perspective. The Museum begins with a short movie which orients visitors to some of the past and present issues impacting civil rights. Once you’ve watched that, you’re good to go and begin touring the museum at whatever pace you decided to set for yourself. It begins with a representation of the Atlantic slave trade and the global impact that had. Next up is the Rise of Jim Crow (1896-1954) which clearly shows, through a variety of means how the amendments and rights granted to African Americans following the Civil War were gradually eroded and replaced by laws which reinforced the “separate but equal doctrine that prevailed for many years. The oral history component of this section is heartbreaking; hearing real people (from children to senior citizens) tell in their own words how it felt to be discriminated against on all levels on a daily basis is something you definitely don’t get in many history books. When one older man talks about being beaten by police as a child for an innocent peck on the cheek with a white playmate and then wonders, “What could have been or done if this incident hadn’t defined my life?” you can begin to get a sense of what an enormous impact Jim Crow had on blocking the contributions that many Americans could have been making to the United States during those decades. Also I knew that the number of lynching’s spiked during those years but reading about the “carnival-like atmosphere” that accompanied them, including watchers “scrambling for souvenirs” like pieces of charred remains or taking photos of themselves with the murdered person , was chilling.

 In the next exhibit room is “Separate but not Equal” which addresses the fight to desegregate public schools, both in the classroom and in the courts. Here you can see how desegregation unfolded all over the country as well as in your region or home state. Once again there is so much rich detail in this room that I found it impossible to rush through it. For example though I was familiar with the Brown v. Board of Education case I didn’t know that Brown was actually five cases bundled into one. Another common misperception that may be challenged in this museum is John F. Kennedy’s role in the civil rights struggle, which seems to have been influenced more by how America was being perceived abroad and less by his commitment to human rights. Something else we all learned was how difficult and unpleasant trying to take a vacation could be for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. There was an exhibit about travel guides which were developed during those highly segregated times that listed “friendly” accommodations, aptly known as “vacation/recreation without humiliation”. In fact the Lorraine Motel where the Museum is located was one of these destinations. Other exhibits my college-age kids liked included the 3-D F.W. Woolworth’s counter and the Freedom Riders and the Freedom Bus.

National Civil Rights Museum-Memphis-2014 007

I soon discovered that these rooms are just a drop in the bucket. Having failed to review the museum exhibits in-depth before visiting; I wasn’t aware of how extensive the Museum is. The website suggested allotting a minimum of two hours to visit but it has so many interactive activities and interpretative panels that after two hours I had only gone through three or four rooms. When my husband told me I still had about twelve more to go, I was shocked! I skimmed through most of them just to get an idea of what they contained but I am definitely planning a return trip.

 After leaving the Museum, we walked across the street to Central BBQ on Butler Avenue (http://cbqmemphis.com/about-central-bbq) where we had ribs (of course!) and pulled pork sandwiches, along with a draft beer from Ghost River Brewing (http://www.ghostriverbrewing.com) which was quite thirst-quenching!

National Civil Rights Museum-Memphis-2014 012

 Next stop-Dallas!

What’s on my Bedside Reading Table?

May 6, 2014

First post in May and luckily I’ve been reading up a storm! These three books are quite different but all of them have something to offer the avid reader and aspiring writer.

My Education by Susan Choi

This is my first book by this author. Though it’s not always the type of novel I’m drawn to, I couldn’t put it down. It wasn’t even the plot (though the ending was extremely satisfying, something I’ve really come to appreciate after a few bad ones), it was Choi’s descriptions of her characters that really impressed me, especially since that’s my goal for the month of May-to become more descriptive. I felt like I would instantly recognize Regina, Dutra, Martha, and Nicholas if I saw them on the street this morning (which I might since I have the sneaking suspicion that My Education may have been set in our fair city!) I also thought she wrote the sex scenes very well which is not the easiest thing to do either. Plus, Choi has a keen eye and a wicked sense of humor. This is one; I’ll probably read at least once again purely for the stylistic elements and I highly recommend it to all of you.

Run by Ann Patchett.

I haven’t read as much of this author as I’d like to so when a friend recommended this book when I ran into her in the library, I snapped it up. It was a quick read and I did like it overall. However, the book reminded me that it’s really important for writers to make sure that their writing allows readers to also see what may be so clear to them in their own heads as they are writing. Without giving the plot away, there is some sort of dream sequence while one character is in the hospital that I found both puzzling and distracting and, though I liked the characters and felt they were well-drawn, near the end of the book they all arrive in a hospital room together and I found myself feeling like it was a little too overwhelming and confusing to have them all there. I would have liked it better if Patchett had just had a few of them there and gone more deeply into what they were thinking and feeling.

What I liked most about this book was its observations (through the characters thoughts and feelings) about choices we make and the long-range, sometimes unexpected, repercussions they can have.

The Beans of Egypt, Maine by Carolyn Chute

I have been planning to read this book ever since I read an interview of the author several years ago so I was happy to finally get to it. Let me start out by saying that it is completely different from the two other novels in this post. Set in small town Maine, the Bean clan is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever come to know the rural poor. The Beans do not live in a pastoral or bucolic Norman Rockwell painting, they live in trailers or houses that are falling down around them. They have more children than they can take care of and suffer from all the things that frequently accompany generational poverty; poor health, alcoholism and other addictions, mental illness, and learning disabilities. The Beans are not lovable but there is something about their tenacity and ability to turn a situation to their advantage, along with their desperate desire to be loved, that, while not exactly endearing them to readers, still forms enough of an emotional connection that you find yourself hoping that, against all odd, things might somehow get better for them.

In terms of technique, I was captivated by the way Chute shifts the narrative to different characters voices as it adds both depth and understanding to the story. Plus, I think it’s much harder to do this effectively than it is to write from a single point-of-view. The details she uses, as well as the regional dialect, effortlessly engage all of the reader’s senses so this is a book I may well read a second time to try to see just how she does it. The Bean’s and their neighbors are a perfect example of the old adage “show don’t tell”.

 Enjoy these books and please  forward on your own reading recommendations!

Poetry Month Post

April 29, 2014

This is exactly why it’s so hard for me to throw anything away. You never know when you might need it. Take for example, this last post of April, which happens to be National Poetry Month. Just as I was trying desperately to think of something I could write about that had to do with poetry, what did I come across in an old notebook? Some scribbles dated 2011 when I went to hear a Hindi poet speak at Cornell University. Described as “One of India’s leading cultural figures…” in the press release, I remember really enjoying Ashok Vajpeyi’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashok_Vajpeyi) talk, titled “How not to Approach Indian Art, Literature, and Culture”. In fact, in the margin of my notebook paper I noted that he was something of a “creative globetrotter”! Here are three of my favorite quotes of his that have to do with poetry and why I liked them:

“Poetry gives a voice to those who don’t have their own voice.” He went on to clarify that this is not just meant for oppressed people but also for things like birds, mountains, or trees. When you write a poem, you can imagine and take on any voice or characteristics that you think the person, place, or thing you’re writing about might have. You can also say things that you think they might be feeling but have no way of expressing. Or you can reference, or allude to, a situation or emotion that you sense and let readers form their own interpretations.

“Poetry is a way to recall.” Like when you write a story, poetry is a way for you to articulate memories and feelings long-buried. I’ve found is that sometimes trying a less commonly used style of poetry writing (i.e. a tanka or elegy), will help you excavate valuable inner material.

When writing poetry “Don’t allow the smallest detail to go to waste.” As with writing articles and stories, it’s all in the details. Poems need the five senses every bit as much as a good piece of prose. This can be especially fun and challenging to attempt when you’re trying to compose a poem that rhymes, like a limerick, or a haiku!

As you can see, Vajpeyi’s advice for poets is quite similar to the suggestions aspiring writers of prose receive from the experts.

As an aside, I am a not-too-distant relative of the 20th century poet, Edgar A. Guest, also known as the “People’s Poet”. So perhaps there is hope for me as an amateur poet yet! To mark the end of the 2014 National Poetry Month, I’ll close with a favorite quote from one of Edgar’s many poems:

“Keep your dreams, they’re richer far

Than the facts discovered are…”

What’s in my Indiana Travel Journal?

April 24, 2014

Has anyone out there heard of Valparaiso, Indiana? I must confess that, until my youngest son decided to attend the university there, I never had heard of this quirky little town in the heart of the Midwest. But over the past year of college visits, I’ve really come to appreciate Valpo and all it has to offer. It’s also managed to reaffirm my belief that you don’t have to hit up a major tourist destination to have a good time on a weekend getaway (remember Buffalo?!) A few things we did in Valpo over Easter weekend were:

Had Brunch with the Easter Bunny at the Silver Spoon

Right on Valpo’s main drag, this is our favorite breakfast spot because it has awesome skillets and even better pancakes! The highlights were when the bunny took off his head to sneak a bite of French toast (severely frightening a young child!) and when he came over to our table to sing “Happy Birthday” to my son’s friend!

 Valparaiso-Easter 2014 001

 

Visited the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

This park (http://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm) offers something for everyone, from a hike on the 45 miles of giant sand dunes, wetlands, and forests to a leisurely stroll down the sandy beach on scenic Lake Michigan. If you time it right, sunsets there are particularly colorful. Sadly it was too cold to swim this visit!

Valparaiso-Easter 2014 006

 Checked out Valpo Velvet Shoppe

This renowned ice cream shop (http://www.valpovelvet.com) was founded in 1922 and the cones, dishes, and sundaes are still as delicious as they were back then. They have a great outside seating area and the servers are friendly.

 Attended Easter Sunday Services in the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Located on the university’s campus, the chapel’s chancel of is 98 feet high, with a roof shaped like a nine-point star and its stained glass work is both stunning and spectacular. It’s one of the loveliest collegiate chapels in the United States and not to be missed.

Took a photo with Orville Redenbacher!

Yes-you heard me right-the king of popcorn also happens to be a native son of Valparaiso. Who knew? His bronzed statue in the town square provides a perfect photo opportunity for tourists!

 Valparaiso-Easter 2014 003

Next time you plan a road trip don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled on. You won’t be sorry!

Do you have what it takes?

April 17, 2014

While cleaning out the papers in my office (yes, once again…) I came across a notation I’d made in 2009 that read:

Writer’s Tool Belt

Purpose

Patience

Passion

Persistence

All these light the way to success!

How true I thought, both in 2009 and 2014. As much as we may want things to be exciting and glamorous in the writing world every single day, that just isn’t possible. Truth be told, it’s probably not even desirable; as writers we need the “down” time as much as the “up” time to achieve a balance in our articles and stories. If you want to, take a few minutes and write a sentence or two about what each of these tools means to you. Here’s my take on them:

My purpose is to write the best I can, even on the days where I’d rather run away (fast!) than sit in my chair and pick up my pen. If I’m a writer, I have to write. There is absolutely no way around it. I also need to be prepared to write, with all the supplies I need, the latest books, and regularly attending writer’s conferences. Whoever heard of a chef that never prepared a dinner, went shopping for ingredients, or bought the kitchen implements he/she needed? Ridiculous, right?

I am not always patient but with my writing I need to force myself to be. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I put so much time and effort and emotional energy into a story or article that one morning I wake up and say, ”That’s it! I’m done!” and I send it out without doing that one last proofreading. And every single time I regret it, because I always find one or two mistakes that I probably could have caught if I had just been patient. Another place I find I need patience is while I’m waiting for a story, article, or poem to take shape. You can try to write it before you are fully aware of how you want to get started and it will almost always be horrible, maudlin, or just plain boring. I start thinking about specific ideas or topics every day, considering possibilities, turning things around in my mind. On the day it’s ready, the idea will suddenly pop out, read y to move forward. To continue the cooking analogy, writing a piece of fiction or nonfiction is like taking a cake out of the oven before its ready. Too soon and it will be a gooey mess. So, bide your time!

Every writer should be passionate about the people, places, and events they write about, about submitting what they write, and about learning new things every single day. If you don’t think you can be passionate, maybe writing isn’t the career for you. Enough said!

Persistence is hard. There are some days (and yesterday was definitely one of them) when it is not fun to be a writer. Everything conspires against you from an empty mailbox and Inbox (except for junk mail), to needy pets who keep breaking your concentration, to dinner that nobody can seem to figure out how to make but you. You have a “to do” list that, by the end of the day, you have managed to complete only one-third of, leaving you feeling frustrated and like you’re a failure. This is when you need to say “Look what I did get done, despite everything. Everyone has a bad day once in a while. I am a good writer.” Then pour yourself a glass of wine, pick up a good book, and let it go. Tomorrow will be better.

Start your Writing Engines!

April 10, 2014

Spring is in the air and to me that means a major work shift is underway. No more holing up inside while the snow falls and the wind howls outside. With the warmer weather beckoning, it’s a great time to come up with a list of things you want to do that could make great articles, blog posts, short story locations, or LinkedIn or Facebook updates. We all know that a happy, active writer is a productive writer! With the longer hours of daylight it is definitely possible to have a full day of writing, interviewing, and researching combine with taking several jaunts a week to places you’ve never been but always wanted to go. The first step is to make a list so that when you have some free time; you don’t just sit there twiddling your thumbs going “Hmm…what should I do?”

Here are a few things on my summer “to do” list so far:

Visit Hemlock- Canadice State Forest (and lakes)

Go to the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the New York State Fair

Take the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride tour

Bicycle the Erie Canal Heritage Trail

Check out St. Marie among the Iroquois

Take the Mark Twain Trolley tour

Take the self-guided Grand Prix Race tour through the streets and countryside of Watkins Glen

Find new places to pick fresh fruit

Attend the Cazenovia Counterpoint Festival

Explore as many new wineries and cheese farms as possible!

 

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A few things that will make achieving these more likely:

Pencil them on my calendars (work and home) so there will be time set aside for each activity

Invite family or friends to come with me so I’m less likely to blow it off

Research them ahead of time so I know what things I particularly want to see and do while there

Purchase things that will make my adventures fun (i.e. picnic basket, Empire Parks Pass, new sneakers)

Feel free to send on any of your ideas/suggestions too!

What do Weight Loss and Writing Have in Common?

April 7, 2014

This morning, I’ve come to the conclusion that writing is suspiciously like losing weight. For example:

If you don’t weigh yourself vigilantly every day, it’s really easy to let the pounds creep on until one day you wake up, get on the scale, and discover that you have a real problem. In the same vein-if writers don’t write every day, you’re writing gets rustier and sitting down to the page becomes easier and easier to put off until, one day you do sit down and are amazed and horrified to discover that you are having trouble forming a cohesive or meaningful sentence. Even worse, the dreaded writer’s block may have set in while you were avoiding completing your daily pages so now you have an additional obstacle to overcome.

Secondly, it is really easy to come up with excuses to eat things you probably shouldn’t. You know exactly what I mean! Things like ice cream, potato chips, and pizza. There is always a reason, you had a tough day at work, your husband is driving you crazy, or the dog puked on the rug again. It is ok to enjoy treats or comfort foods once in a while; none of us is perfect (nor would we want to be!) But, if you indulge yourself every single day then it becomes a bad habit rather than an extraordinary circumstance. Then you have a problem… It’s the same with writing. There are so many reasons not to write. There is a snow day and the kids are home (again!), you are coming down with the flu, or no one has paid you yet for work you submitted months ago. Taking an occasional few hours, even a day, off isn’t the end of the world. However, when a few hours become a week and you’re spending your time finding things other than writing to fill your hours with until suddenly the work day is over, then you might need to do a little “attitude adjustment”.

Finally, to achieve your desired weight you need to exercise. Stretching and moving are a key component to getting in shape. The same goes for writing. Like athletes, most of us writers have exercises to help us get warmed up before we hit the page full stride. I journal and then do a 20-minute writing exercise from one of my many favorite writing books. This may sound like time wasted, but it isn’t. Writing in a journal allows me to clear my mind of any emotional baggage that might be lingering from the previous day. And the exercise gets my creative juices flowing so I’m ready to use my prime writing time constructively and creatively. If I skip either of these, it’s easy to see the difference in that day’s pages.

By the way, are you interested in learning what prompted this post? Has anyone noticed that I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks? It’s truly amazing to me how every morning I would think to myself “must squeeze in a blog post today” yet, by the end of the day, I still had managed to do everything but a post. And now it’s the second week in April. My how time flies when you are avoiding things! And the funny thing is, I really like blogging once I’ve gotten started. So-here we go; I’m back in the saddle once again with the goal of two posts per week.

Take a few minutes to think about what you might have been avoiding, in your writing or other parts of your life, and how you can address it. Remember bathing suit season and publication are just around the corner!

 


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