snapshots

All The Things (July 2018)

This month has been fantastic. Here are all the things:

Things I’m Reading: This month I read The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne, and it was INCREDIBLE. So freaking awesome. Currently I am reading Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson, which is good so far.

Things I’m Watching: The Break with Michelle Wolf; reruns of The Good Place; and the first three seasons of Community, which is such a funny show and has been my comic relief and my stress relief. (A great antidote to the daily news feed, which can really weigh on me.)

Things I’m Trying: I’ve been doing some reflecting about how to best keep my weekly routines. One of the big things I want to try is having a Weekly Planning Date with myself – just sitting down with my planner and thinking about the week ahead, with regard to work, socializing, writing, exercise, cleaning, and meals.

Things I’m Grateful For: A great vacation with the family to Oak Island; some time away from work to rest and recuperate; and some creative writing juices, which have (finally) been flowing!

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snapshots

All The Things (June 2018)

There are SO MANY THINGS to write about this month!

What I’m Abandoning: My quest to have a Social Media Day. I decided to abandon this after I didn’t hear about two big events in the time span I would like. However, I am still trying to figure out how to manage this part of my life, particularly in the wake of recent news. How do I stay engaged without becoming overwhelmed or depressed? If anyone has ideas on this, PLEASE let me know!

What I’m Watching: I had never heard of Michelle Wolf before the “scandal” of this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. She is HILARIOUS. I’m turning to stand-up comedy as a coping tool during these troubled times.

What I’m Reading: Laura Lippman, a detective fiction writer who writes about the greater Baltimore area. I read two of her books earlier this month, and now I’m halfway through The Heart’s Invisible Furies and I am loving it so far!

What I’m Struggling With: My prolific writing routine. There’s been a lot going on and my productivity level has been fluctuating – this post is a day late as a result. But, only a day, and I’m hoping that I am back on track.

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snapshots

All The Things (May 2018)

So many things!  Here’s my May snapshot:

Things I’m Reading: Oh, boy – so weird. In a crazy twist, I’m reading nothing but nonfiction right now! I finished Behold The Dreamers (my book club book) and now I’m reading Meditation Now Or Never by Steve Hagen and Writing Mysteries, a writing advice book edited by Sue Grafton. I sort of miss being lost in an engaging novel, but I’m also feeling really focused and motivated when it comes to writing, and I know that it is so much harder for me to sit down and write when I have an amazing work of fiction on my nightstand. So I’m going to keep this streak going for the moment! (Although – there’s a Laura Lippman novel on my nightstand. If you’re going to WRITE mysteries, you need to READ mysteries…  Right? ;))

Things I’m Listening To: A new podcast!  (New to me, that is.) It’s called #AmWriting with Jess & KJ, and it’s all about writing and publishing. I’m soaking up all the info and loving it. It’s really helping me to feel motivated and hopeful about my writing goals.

Things I’m Doing: Running a LOT!  I’m up to nine miles and getting ready for Race Day on June 2nd, when I’ll be running the Baltimore 10-Miler.

Things I’m Struggling With: Focusing! I’m so excited about writing, but I have such limited time to get it done, and sometimes it’s hard to know what to work on first, and sometimes it’s hard to stick with one good idea and follow it through to the end.

Things Making Me Proud: I’ve published a minimum of two blog posts per week ever since mid-March. That’s only two months, but it’s the first two months that I’ve been able to post that consistently.  Yay me!

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books + reading · podcasts · reading · snapshots

All The Things (April 2018)

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and rethinking about the blog recently.  I have BIG plans in my head!

One thing I am always rethinking is how to do snapshots – brief mini-posts that are more like a “here’s a bunch of stuff I either like or don’t like or just want to blab about.”

For now, this is what I’ve got: a monthly report of all the things. By which I mean, all the things I’m reading, listening to – or whatever else is relevant.

Things I’m Reading: Behold The Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue. Only a few chapters in. So good so far! Also I have 58 items checked out at the library, which is sort of out of control but also I needed them all.

Things I’m Listening To: You guys – my podcast diet is HUGE right now.

A while ago, I reached out to my social media community and got a bunch of recommendations for non-news non-politics podcasts. One of the best recommendations I got was for The Girl Next Door, a podcast that’s basically two next-door neighbors chatting about life, marriage, parenting, self-care, personality, self-reflection – a smorgasboard of my favorite topics.  I absolutely love it. And, I realized, this kind of podcast is my jam – two smart and insightful females talking about how they live and love and parent and create.

Well, it turns out that there are other podcasts that follow this same format. I have fallen into a rabbit hole of friendly podcasts focused on parenting, minimalism, and work-life balance. It is unending, and awesome. But also overwhelming.

I’ve decided to zero in on The Mom Hour now that I’ve finished listening to The Girl Next Door archives. I’ll report back!

Things I’m Working On: Publishing two blog posts a week, which I’ve never attempted before. I think it’s doable. We’ll see!

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books + reading · reading · snapshots

SNAPSHOT #mind #soul

There are, once again, a million mini blog posts floating around in my brain and in my draft folder.  So, without further adieu, a list of random things I’m grateful for:

  • The mystery novels of Louise Penny.  SO FREAKING GOOD.  I started them in the fall (recommended by Hillary Rodham Clinton herself, who is so far a Reliable Book Recommender), and I read all thirteen by the beginning of 2018.  Plus, she announced recently that another book will come out this year.  Yay!
  • This quote from W. Kamau Bell’s book : “Being in my twenties was not helpful for my comedy development because I had nothing going on to talk about.  It wasn’t until I got to my thirties that I had real material.”  I have a constant voice in my head whispering that it’s too late to be a writer.  SHUT UP VOICE KAMAU SAYS NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME.
  • Finding time to meditate.  I’ve been working hard to remember to make time to meditate, and I’ve been doing pretty well.  This was one of my New Year’s Resolutions, and it’s really important to me that I keep it; I’ve been coming to terms with the knowledge that I’m a pretty anxious person, and I believe me26904349_1050168465122347_6526983749737775596_nditation will help me to calm my mind during those paralyzing anxious moments. I’m hoping that a little bit of discipline – sticking with a routine of meditating every day – will help me to increase my overall joy.
  • Rediscovering Buddhism.  I read Buddhism Plain and Simple, by Steve Hagen, about 15 years ago; that was my first introduction to Buddhism, and I loved it.  Now I’m reading another Hagen book, Buddhism Is Not What You Think, and I’ve really been enjoying it. I’m thinking about making a habit out of always having a spiritual book close by; sometimes just reading a few pages out of a book about meditation is enough to help me calm my mind.

Enough for now.  These posts are kind of a dumping ground for random thoughts, but my mind clears up after I write them, so – worth it.

snapshots · writing

Update #mind #soul #heart

There was a big gap in my blogging in 2017.  I wrote a post and published it on October 11 and then didn’t post again for the rest of the year. 

When I’m away from the blog for a while, I’m never able to immediately create a post the day I return.  I always need to start by reacquainting myself with the terrain – the computer, the typing, the subjects and topics that have accumulated in my head during my (usually unintended) leave of absence.

I’ve spent the past week doing just that – sifting through the thoughts I drafted two months ago, scribbling notes about what’s been happening in my life during November and December 2017, and crafting new thoughts for the new year.

Here’s a snapshot of the last two months of my life:

-I attempted a NaNoWriMo challenge – writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days – during November 2017.  I stuck with it for the first half of the month, and then got busy and distracted and did not complete the challenge.  I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo at least three times, and I’ve never finished it.  I think this says something about my work habits, my writing style.  I don’t feel bad about it.  At all.

My attempt to achieve NaNoWriMo is part of why I’ve been absent from blogging.  I don’t regret doing it – I stuck with it for about two weeks, and I produced a lot of solid content – but I do think my soul suffers when I’m away from the blog for too long.  It’s my release valve; without it, everything gets all jammed up.

-Tee and I have been blissfully reading Louise Penny’s mystery novels, all featuring a wonderful main character named Chief Inspector Gamache.  I first heard about the books in an interview Hillary Rodham Clinton did on one of my favorite podcasts, Call Your Girlfriend, so I like to think of these books as part of a book club that HRC started without knowing it.  There are 13 books in the series (so far), and I just finished reading the tenth book, The Long Way Home.  Now, I am distracting myself with other books, because Tee is a book behind me (she’s currently reading #9) and I am going to BURST if I can’t talk to her about #9 and #10 ASAP!

-Last night, I attended a writing group at my local library for the first time.  It was great, and I hope I go back.  I’m eager to find a community of writers with whom I can talk and share and connect.

-One of my biggest goals for 2018 is to let go of “what-do-I-do-with-my-work-life” angst and embrace my writing.  I have a flexible, semi-low-stress job that allows me to daydream about stories during my endless driving time and actually write during my off time.

I’ve been struggling with the question of what I really want to be when I grow up for months now.  Recently Jon Favreau (of Pod Save America, another of my favorite podcasts) shared some advice, paraphrased here: There are people who want to be someone and there are people who want to do something, and you should always strive to be the latter.  I want to write, and I want to become good at writing.  I’d rather end my life thinking “I was a good writer” than end my life thinking “I published a bunch of stuff that I don’t think is good.”  The second part’s not in my control, anyway.     

More to come!

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family · snapshots · writing

SNAPSHOT #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

So much to do and SO LITTLE WRITING GETTING DONE.

My intention (and my hope) is to write every evening after Teddy goes to sleep.  Which is what I’m doing tonight.

It’s been a while.  Hence, a snapshot:

-I’ve been busily prepping for NaNoWriMo by working on a memoir every chance I get.  The novel I’m going to write during November is fiction, but I worry that I won’t be able to write really authentic fiction until I’ve written my life story.  When I’m writing fiction that has similarities to my real life, I start to get tangled up and confused – which is the truth, and which is the story?  So I’m writing out the facts – just the facts.  #mind #soul

-Lots of #heart food lately – visits with my mom, time with extended family, time with friends, and time with Teddy and Tee.

-Oh, #soul.  I’ve recently realized how powerful anxiety is in my life.  It twists and turns and churns, and it generally takes the form of an obsessive and draining need to seek something that I don’t have and can’t control.  (The adoption.  The perfect job.)  I am praying for the time and space to be able to address my anxiety through meditation, yoga, and radical self-care.

-Tee and I took a rare overnight trip to do some hiking and adventuring with Teddy recently.  It was lovely.  It’s hard to really relax and connect at home – there’s always so much on the farm and around the house that needs to get done.  A getaway was the perfect prescription to fall stress.    #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

-Hillary Rodham Clinton recommended a mystery novel to me, so I read it and so did my fellow Wild Peace Book Club members!  We haven’t read a book together for a long time, but who can say no to HRC?  The book is Still Life by Louise Penny, and it’s the first in a series of books featuring Inspector Gamache.  I’m halfway through the second book in the series, and loving it; I’ve been reading a lot of books about writing recently, and it’s a nice break to indulge in fiction.

So much to be thankful for.  #blessed

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