Friday, November 25, 2011

Fictional Distraction

Image courtesy of
I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving! I had intended to post yesterday, but the day got away from me. Today, if you're looking for a little fictional distraction from the sales and the crowds, I hope you'll visit Every Day Fiction and read my story "Dinner Plans" (And consider joining the lively discussion in the comments section.)

Also, if you'd like a chance to win two books by Holly Black, my daughter is hosting her first giveaway over at Born Bookish.

Until next time, I hope you find lots of great Black Friday bargains and enjoy plenty of delicious turkey leftovers!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Going Through the Motions

Photo Courtesy of Studio7Designs

Do you ever feel the hours slipping away? Hear the days whooshing past you as one rushes into the next? Feel the years slipping through your fingers like water? Sometimes it’s hard to get a hold on things and it feels like I’m just going through the motions, meeting my obligations, checking off my responsibilities on some huge check list. In the quest to get things done, it’s easy to lose sight of the meaning behind the task or the joy that’s to be found in the journey.

This week our oldest daughter bought a house. I’m proud of her for being so focused, hard working and determined. And although the first thing friends and family say when I tell them her news is “Are you sad?” I feel like we’ve really made the most of our time together over the years.  I know I’ll miss her terribly when she moves out, but right now I’m caught up in her excitement. And I’m thinking that’s just the way it should be.

Photo courtesy of Studio7Designs
It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture: dreams, goals, and wishes of “someday.” For writers it’s easy to focus on getting published, landing an agent, or finishing that book. The struggle is not to forget how much potential each day holds on its own, as we travel in the direction of those goals. 

I just started reading Hope Will Find YouMy Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living by Naomi Levy. In it, the author addresses how common it is to get stuck in holding patterns as we wait for life to begin: when we get that house, that contract, that new car. “The reality is, every life just as it is right now has its own unique power and lesson to teach. Every day has its story. Every dream holds a lesson.”

Photo Courtesy of Studio7Designs
I know there are big changes ahead in the upcoming months, so my goal for right now is to enjoy every moment, to hold onto the days and to make sure I don’t just go through the motions. Today is exciting, rewarding, full of hope and opportunity. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

Do you ever have to remind yourself to make the most of each day?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Measured Steps

This week I thought a lot about measured steps, progress, forward motion. Most likely because it’s November and oodles of my online friends (and several real life friends) are NaNo-ing. (I am not.) With so many people focusing an entire month on meeting word counts each day, it got me thinking of production output. For some, the NaNoWriMo challenge sparks creativity. For me it does the opposite. I get to feeling like a machine – spitting out a set number of words in a day, a week, a month, but losing the enjoyment of it in the process.

I am a slow writer. Ideas need to simmer in my subconscious before I can work them out on the page. If we’re measuring, maybe that means less rewrites later on, or maybe not. Who knows? In any case, that’s the way my brain works.

I’m all for setting goals, but for me, what works are goals that exist in the background. They keep me motivated to stretch myself and see what I’m capable of, but they aren’t burdensome.

Photo courtesy of Free Artistic Photos.

I spoke a few months ago about a book I was reading called The Art of Possibility, in which the authors propose that our focus doesn’t have to be on measured steps. It can be about embracing the fact that we are active participants – in life, in writing, in whatever.
I love this quote from the book: “The life force for humankind is, perhaps, nothing more or less than the passionate energy to connect, express, and communicate. Enrollment is that life force at work, lighting sparks from person to person, scattering light in all directions. Sometimes the sparks ignite a blaze; sometimes they pass quietly, magically, almost imperceptibly, from one to another to another.”

Whether you find that spark through NaNoWriMo this month, through the friends you connect with via blogging, or any of a million other possible ways, I hope you find that passionate energy that keeps you going.                              

What is the spark that motivates you?