Monday, February 24, 2014

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait...or Is It Carrion?

So February vacation is over. I've made my last batch of Belgian Waffles, the snow forts are melting into the driveway and the kids are at school. Now it's time to write. What do I write about? Hmmmm....good question. The blank page is staring at me...better get a cup of coffee...

There. NOW I will sit down and write. Oh friend Dawn is online. I haven't chatted with her in a while. I'll just say hello while I finish my coffee. THEN I will write. My back is sore from working out with my dear hubby last night. Maybe I'll take some Ibuprofen...AND THEN I will write. Okay, I've had my juice and Ibuprofen. That should take effect in about 20 minutes, right? That gives me some time to get dressed...since I didn't change out of my pajamas yet. THEN I will write.

It seems that what is on my mind is writing...or the avoidance of doing so. I am excited then because a recent article a friend of mine shared explained how most good writers procrastinate a bit before they really write anything. They hardly ever just dive in and do it. It has to do with a fear of turning in something poorly written. It can't be poorly written if it isn't written at all right? So I must be about to write The Great American Novel because I can think of a thousand things to do besides write. This is in spite of the fact that I just quit a decent job to write for a bit.

But phone just vibrated. It wasn't a call...what was it? Should I answer it? Look to see what the latest Facebook post was or should I just ignore it? I am, after all, writing. This is my time to write. I'm not supposed to use this time to Facebook or Twitter, or Foursquare, or check email. I'm supposed to write.

If you're a writer does this sound like you? Do you sit down and get to it right away or do you circle the task of writing like a vulture waiting for the right time to pick a carcass clean? It could be either on any given day, am I right? For me, the act of writing feels natural, like an extension of myself...most of the time. On those days there is meat to what I write and my fingers fly across the keyboard or the pen whips across the page as if it has a mind of its own. Other days, like today, I have to coax the words out one at a time and it does feel like a dead carcass. Then I have to pick at writing a little at a time and it can be painful.

I am still struggling to find my writer's "voice" I think. I haven't hit that stride that I want to hit that is conversational. My friend Christine does a wonderful job with her blog. She is interesting, funny, and talks about things in a way that makes you care about what she's writing. Check this out: I love reading her writing. She is amazing. And intelligent. And real. Maybe someday I will write like that. Or maybe I'll find a way to write like me. I mean, admiring someone is a good thing, right? So is emulating them to a degree, right? But I need to be me of course. Not her. I mean, seriously, the world already has Christine. She can't be duplicated nor should she be. I just want to hit the mark as often as she does.

Quick bathroom break and it's back to writing...

Here I am again, armed with a new cup of coffee and ready to write something amazing. Or not. Who knows? I just know I'm going to write and hope someone wants to read it. If they do, great. If they don't, I'll be still here, picking at the carcass...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Rest is Still Unwritten...

Well folks, strap your seatbelts on. I'm about to dive out into the great unknown and try to forge a writing career for myself. I quit my job to write.

(Waits for a minute...)

Yep. You heard me. I quit my job. To write.

Think I'm stupid to give up the income? That's your right. You can think I'm stupid, crazy, irresponsible, whatever you want. It's okay. But I want this. I've been wanting this for a long time. I think the biggest mistake I've made with my career was to give up pursuing journalism out of fear. That's what I did you know. I was a reporter in college. For the Beverly Times. I loved doing it. I was having a great time pursuing leads, writing feature stories, and getting to know the people in my community (at the time). So why did I quit you ask? Fear. Plain and simple fear.

My coworkers had me convinced that because the divorce rate was so high in the field (I don't really know what the rate is...but I had been told)that maintaining a relationship while trying to be a writer was impossible. I wanted a family...badly. So I let go of the writing thinking that was a sacrifice I needed to make in order to have a happy family. What a dumb thing for me to do.I regret ever walking away from writing.

On second thought, I have no regrets. I wanted a family and that was my priority. I pursued a good, strong family and now I have that. I love my husband, my kids are the best I could ask for, and I have a great home in which we all live. I have two dogs and a cat, a nice yard and wonderful neighbors. So I'm living the dream.

Now it's time to expand my dream. My children are getting older and don't need my attention in the same intensive way that they did when they were infants and toddlers. It's time to start a career. One that I can be happy with and proud of.

I had a hard time quitting. I kept hearing the naysayers in my head telling me that I was making a mistake to give up the income I was giving up. There were many reasons for hanging on to the job. But there was always one reason to let it go...I was unhappy not pursuing my writing career. The third shift that I worked always left me tired and unable to be present for several days afterwards. But I don't need to make excuses. I want to pursue a writing career. That's what I'm going to do.

Thank God for my husband. He is a wonderful, supportive and loving man. He knows why I need to do this and supports me 100%. Literally now (ha, ha).

So what am I going to write? A combination of things. I'm going to blog...I'm going to work on a couple of the fiction pieces that I have been working on in NanoWriMo (check out if you don't know what I'm talking about)and I am writing a book on grief and grieving. I'll keep you posted about my work as it develops. Let me know what you think of it, please. Just be kind if you don't like it. And specific. Be specific about why you don't like it if you don't like it and just as specific if you do like it. I want to become an excellent writer and need feedback in order for that to happen.

I'll be posting some of my writing soon. I'll post links to it as I complete it. I would love to know what you think of it. And tell anyone you think might want to read what I write! It would be nice to have a following.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Friends or Foes?

My boys are almost exactly two years apart and they are very different people. My 8-year old likes art, video games, Pokemon and soccer. He wants to play the flute. He is emotional, expressive and VERY intelligent, but has a bit of trouble with low self-esteem. My 10-year old is confident, charming and also intelligent. He likes Legos, baseball, reading and karate. The one thing they seem to have in common these days? Fighting. With each other. They fight constantly. About everything. It makes me nuts. If one says something is cool, the other must immediately expound on how stupid it is. They are both last-word freaks too. Neither will let anything go. Their one saving grace is that it hasn't become physical...yet.

The last fight they had was because Christopher was humming a Christmas tune. Apparently he had altered the words earlier to make into a song that was insulting to Daniel. It was driving Daniel to distraction that Christopher was humming the song constantly. "Christopher, stop it! Stop humming that!" Daniel was yelling at this point.

"I'm not doing anything Daniel! I'm just humming! God, leave me alone!" Christopher responded just a little too innocently.

"Mom, Christopher won't stop humming that song!" (Here it comes, one of the boys always drags me into it)

"Daniel, he can hum a song if he wants to, just don't listen to it," I respond, not knowing that Christopher has rewritten they "lyrics."

"But Mom, he's making fun of me! He made up a mean song and he won't stop humming it" Daniel tells me.

"Christopher, stop bothering Daniel and do your homework," I say.

"Mom, it's just a Christmas song," Christopher insists...and on and on. Eventually both boys wound up doing chores and both were upset with each other as well as me. I can handle them being angry or unhappy with me, but it happens so much lately. Internally I just sigh and go about my business.

Unflattering, I know. I probably shouldn't talk about my children in this way lest they read my blog at some point, but blogging is about writing about real-life stuff. Stuff that people can relate to and I need to talk about this. Perhaps if I talk about it here I can have the patience to handle their constant blowouts in a mature and effective fashion...and not sound like Sam Kinison while I do it. Who knows, perhaps someone out there in the blogosphere has some helpful suggestions for dealing with two intelligent, spirited boys who insist that they are always right. My current method does not seem to be deterring the fighting, even though I think perhaps they are listening somewhat. Every time a fight erupts between the two boys, I sit them down and make them talk it out. When we come to an impasse where one or both are not listening and they are still fighting, they get chores. If they have so much energy to argue and not enough to listen, they must have the energy to help me out around the house a bit. It is an effective distraction from bickering plus I get the added benefit of some much-needed help.

Some would say that I am wasting my time making them talk it out. They are, after all, only 8 and 10, right? How much capability do my young men have to really understand and work things out? A lot actually. I think that even when they don't DO what they should they are listening. I believe this because I see it in action. We talk about listening to each other and letting each other finish. And while many conversations are laced with frustration there is a love and respect developing between the boys.

If Daniel falls down and gets hurt, Christopher is usually the first by his side trying to make sure he is okay. Christopher, despite his protestations to the contrary, cares deeply if Daniel is sad about something and crying. Last night Christopher came downstairs and told me that Daniel was crying. I asked him to tell Daniel to come to me and worked through why the cat doesn't want to stay in the bed with him (Daniel has a tendency to squish Xavier when trying to be affectionate).

Now how can two boys who say they don't like each other care so much?