Wednesday, March 7, 2018

March IWSG - Getting Back to Normal

It's the first Wednesday of March and the Insecure Writer's Support Group is gathering for another month of check-ins, encouragement, airing out insecure laundry, and offering support to each other while seeking a bit for our selves. Joining the group back when it started has been one of the best motivational and inspirational decisions I've ever made for my writing. If you'd like to learn more about the group, click over to the WEBSITE to learn more and to sign up!

Our co-hosts this month are: Mary Aalgaard, Bish Denham, Jennifer Hawes, Diane Burton, and Gwen Gardener. Make sure you visit their sites and thank them for their time and encouragement!

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This year has so far not gone as planned in terms of writing. I'd thought I'd have my novel edited and ready for readers by the end of January. Well, it's been edited but now I need to go through it and do some deep revising before it's ready for critiques. That being said, I'd planned to start the draft of a new novel in February but my health had other plans.

I've battled Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for about ten years and for the first time in a very, very long time I feel like normal. I've been on a very limited eating plan for the past 15 days and it's worked beautifully! I don't plan to live on this eating plan (trust me when I say VERY limited) but it's something that I know I can now use periodically to get myself back on track.

This means that I finally have the energy to do the things I haven't been able to do in so long! We'll finally be able to take the kayaks out my husband bought for my birthday last July! I'll be able to swim again. I rearranged the house yesterday and, aside from a sore back from improperly lifting an armchair, I feel great!

What does this mean for my writing? I'm ready and have carved out a plan that - I hope - will have me back on track with the editing AND the drafting of the new story by the end of this month. Of course, I've recently taken on more work at the day job, but that shouldn't hold me back too much (fingers crossed). I'm encouraged and I'm so very thankful this particular eating plan came to me at the right time. Like I said, it's very limiting but I'm putting in the effort and it's working. 

Kind of like anything, right? If we're willing to put in the work, make the sacrifices, we'll see the results. Not that if I write every day for an entire year, draft a novel a month, or set aside a hour a day to write will have me on the NY Time Bestseller list by December. It might, but more importantly, it will establish to myself that I am serious about writing. Something that really hit home to me a couple of weeks ago is the phrase "You're only a writer if you write." Not if you're published, not if you're famous, if you WRITE. And that's my goal for this year: to write.

I'm revisiting some favorite writing books and discovering a few new ones. I'm hopeful that getting my health back on track will have me back to writing and editing and - gulp - submitting in a manner that will say to me, "Hey! Look at you! You're WRITING! You're really doing this!"

I can. YOU can. All you gotta do is put in the work. Show up. Be ready. Get that pen moving. 
If you're writing, you're a writer.
Easy peasy.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Whew, what a week! And a book review :)

Hello! I hope you're all doing well and I hope last week was good to you. It was quite the challenge for me but I was able to find some information that - fingers crossed and prayers sent upward - may just help heal a lot of what I've been dealing with. Long story short, I found an eating plan that's geared toward healing and repairing the gut, getting rid of inflammation, and helping autoimmune disease flare-ups. I've been on it for six days now and I already have more energy and less pain that I've had in YEARS! It ain't easy: meat, veggies and fruit are fine. For one month I'm avoiding ALL grains, including rice, dairy, nuts, beans, and sugar. Yikes! Talk about learning how to meal plan all over again!  But, it's working, and I'm hoping it's something I can use periodically to help get me back to feeling like a "normal" human being - and eating the things I love in moderation.

Despite feeling crumby, I was able to finish reading a very encouraging book called, "A Year of Writing Dangerously" by Barbara Abercrombie. It's set up so that you go through it daily throughout the course of a year. I, however, checked it out from the library and didn't have a year. So I read through it in three weeks and took notes. WOW! This is one that I will be adding to my personal library.

I took so many notes, wrote down so many quotes, it just makes sense to eventually purchase it. Plus it would be a wonderful year-long companion to a writing project. Every single entry is inspired and filled with cheer-leading from a successful author and teacher. Abercrombie couples her meditations and stories with quotes from well known authors, both past and present. Each quote perfectly ties up the main entry.

The back of the book contains 52 writing prompts, designed to keep you writing throughout the year, giving you ideas to keep your pen moving and your mind thinking.

There were so many long passages that I ended up taking pictures of some pages AND I definitely snapped photos of the 52 weeks of writing prompts.

Here's just a few of the gems I gathered from this book:

No matter how fast the world zips along, no matter how much fun there is to be had, the fact remains that writing takes time. To write takes dreaming and remembering and thinking and imagining - and very often it feels like wasting time. It takes silence and solitude.

Before you can write your story, you have to own it. Know where the spotlight is and stand in that light and give up the fear of people getting mad at you. Write your story as you feel it so your book can do its work in the world.

I stood, alone, and the world swayed. I am a fugitive and a vagabond, a sojourner seeking signs.
- Annie Dillard

I won't retype the entire book here. Find yourself a copy. If your library doesn't have it, ask them to order it. It's wonderful! And, if you're like me and find yourself taking pictures of more and more pages because you've got cramps from trying to copy down all the gems, go ahead and order yourself a copy.

Your writing soul will thank you.

Dream on,

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lack of posts this week...


Just a quick message to say I'm sorry I've dropped the ball this week in posting.

I have felt terrible since last Wednesday; not the flu or anything, just the loveliness that is a Fibro/M.E. flare.

Been doing a lot of research and may have found a new path to take in calming all this inflammation and getting out of this flare-up roller coaster.

I've felt pretty good today (Thursday), so good in fact that I bought some potting soil and cleaned up the courtyard.

Now I'm exhausted and aching because I accomplished something. That's far better than aching and being exhausted because you woke up. Or you ate something that didn't agree with you. Or you walked across the house. Blerg...

Here's to a fantastic weekend! I hope you all enjoy yourselves. And if the weather where you are is as amazing as the weather is here in Savannah, GET OUTSIDE and soak it up! It's only February. I have to remind myself. Winter usually sneaks in one last hurrah when we least expect it. Quite frankly, I hope this year, Winter forgets and Spring keeps chugging on in!

See ya'll next week!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dear Fahrenheit 451 - Book Thoughts

Happy Feast of Lupercalia! Or Valentine's Day, as we now call it ;) While I wouldn't recommend sacrificing a goat and a dog and then flogging the women in your life with their skins, however you celebrate this day (or even if you don't celebrate at all) I hope it's been wonderful so far.

I wanted to share a bit of book love: Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence.

It's a book, about books, written in letter form by a very sarky, witty and wise librarian. Bonus points for putting my second favorite book EVER* in the title :D

Spence and I were separated at birth and I don't mean siblings. I think part of our souls are merged. The books she loves (that I've read), I love. The books she hates, well, I hate (and no, I haven't read them all). She touches on classics as well as popular fiction, waxes poetical about her dream book shelves, is laugh out loud funny when she regales us with adventures at a cocktail party she wasn't invited to, and made me want to go out and buy a copy of  The Virgin Suicides. The only thing we didn't mesh on was her grin inducing admittance to not understanding Virginia Woolf. But that's OK because I don't think Ms Woolf cared if she was understood by everyone or anyone at all!

As if her warmth and wit wasn't enough - and her penchant to swear and insert modern slang at the most perfect of times - the second part of the book is nothing but lists of MORE books one suddenly feels compelled to read! I mean, come ON: a book about books that lists MORE books? It's nerd heaven!

If you are between books and/or have found it hard to make a commitment to any books so far this year (me and me again), pick this one up. I grabbed this copy from the library, which I thought was fitting, and the thought of returning it makes me cry a little. But that's ok. I know it'll be there, and besides, I have a whole new bunch of books to seek out in the stacks!

Now excuse me while I go track down some Eugenides. I have a feeling I'm going to be a weepy ball of snot after I do. Send chocolate. And tea. Oh and a bunny. Preferably a black one with beady little eyes and overlarge front teeth.


*For the record, in this reader's humble opinion, the five greatest books ever written are as follows: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, and Moonwise by Greer Gilman.

PS: Under no circumstances - not even pain of death - should you EVER see a film version of ANY of these, except for maybe Mockingbird because Gregory Peck <3. Or Fahrenheit 451 because it was the 60's in Britain so it gets a pass :D

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday Musings: Give us Warm Weather and We Head out to Sea

Happy Monday!

I know, I know, Happy WHAT? Believe me, I've been there. But Monday is a fresh start, right? A new week, time to refresh those schedules and projects. Time to take a good, hard look at those goals and plans and to reconfigure them to our current reality.

Now, that may sound like a willy-nilly way of handing our plans. They should be set in stone, right? Well, no, not really. I mean, we should have a solid idea of where we want to go. Have our end result set in front of us so that we have that guiding light to keep us on path. The trick, I believe, is to constantly re-evaluate that final goal and the direction that we need to take in order to get there. That's not saying we should flounder back and forth. No, we do need to make commitments to ourselves, prove to ourselves that we're serious about these goals. But the way we able to achieve those goals may change.

Life happens and we need to be flexible enough to realize we may need to tweak a few things as we go along. Sometimes our paths need weeding, potholes need to be filled, thorns need to be removed. Sometimes, we may need to pause at a fork in the road and consider which way we really need to go in order to achieve our preferred end result. It's not easy. It's not quick. And it will get on your nerves, trust me. When you find that balance, however, between fixing your heart to a certain star and learning to sail smoothly when the wind shifts, you'll become a better person for it and you'll achieve your goal in the best way possible. The best way for you.

That's becoming my new mantra: my journey is not like anyone else's.

Take a look at that -

My journey is not like anyone else's.

Yours isn't either. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop looking at people on social media and saying, "Wow. Must be nice to have everything fall into place. Must be nice to have it all given to you. Must be nice...must be nice...must be nice..."

Yeah, I'm sure it is, but I guarantee you that most of those folks didn't have everything handed to them. They probably had to fight for their dreams as well. And even if they didn't, even if they were handed everything, that's not your concern. YOUR journey is YOUR journey. Not theirs. Not mine. There will be people who come along with similar things and get results before you do. You've fought harder, longer, and you're still waiting. Believe me, I know. But if you keep fighting, if you keep working, if you keep moving forward, shifting sails to catch that breeze, YOU WILL GET THERE.

You will.

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In other news, this weekend was in the 70's and we took advantage of it! It's been drizzly and grey (which I LOVE) but with the warmth, we were able to head out to the beach for the first time in a few weeks. We still needed jackets and I wouldn't go swimming yet, but it was waaaaay warmer than it was two weeks ago! The water was freezing, but it was so nice to be out in the sea air. The wind blew and the waves picked up, rolling over our feet, turning our toes red with cold. The birds flew against the wind, diving into the grey sea, and fog hung at the horizon making the world feel smaller, cozier, even with the infinite ocean in front of us.

I don't know about you, but, man, I'm ready for summer!

Happy Monday, Dear Reader.
Adjust those sails and GO!