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February 2012
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April 2012

The horror … shopping and stylin’

I’ve never been a huge fan of shopping. My mom can back me up on that. Hate it. Always have. Luckily I’ve been super blessed by a mom and friends with good taste and have survived primarily on hand-me-overs from them. (And still happily accept them!) But I’ve become a little more particular as I figure out what my own style is. I know, in my 30s. By which I mean late 30s. Okay, at age 36.

Having two little kids has not enhanced my love for shopping even a little bit. They do that whole crawling under the changing room door just when I’ve wrangled myself into something that won’t fit unless or until I go back to see that hardcore spinning teacher dude. (I know!)

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All that is to say, I go rarely and I go armed. With snacks, an activity and apologies in advance. I found this awesome little store in Newberg, Velour, fashion recycled. And planned my trip carefully. I knew I only had a small window before the kids were out of crackers and then I saw it in the window. The perfect outfit assembled by someone who knows what they are doing. Which is so much better than my awkward hacking together of what might look good. (Besides my go-to T-shirt and jeans look, that’s always hot.)

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So I bought the whole thing, except the shoes which did happen to be in my size as well. I also had time to pick out a new tee. I was outta there in record time and excited to wear it out the next night.

Here’s how that went:

Anyone who’s seen me in the last 36 years knows I’m a pretty conservative dresser. So, when I wear an outfit that’s kind of boob-a-licious you’d think Matt would notice.

He did not.

We had a fun night out with friends anyway. Except the two hours I endured watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show which I hated. (The cast did an awesome job and I did like seeing my friend April on stage. But as for the cult classic itself … To whom is may concern: I want those two hours of my life back!)

Luckily the show was sandwiched between a mediocre dinner with fabulous friends and margaritas with the same rad people, though I’m not sure any amount of tequila could erase the memory of what I’d just endured.

But this post is not about that; it’s about what an adorable nerd my husband is. So the next day, boob-a-licious dress forgotten I’m wearing my new $5 T-shirt featuring the cover of The Great Gatsby and Matt goes: “I like your shirt, babe. Is that new?”

Proving that reading is sexy.


{Project Life: week 8}

The Mom Creative

{Project Life: week 8}

Week 8 , left side

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Week 8, right side

week 8, right

Week 8 insert

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Notes:

I am behind on my inserts for the year. Not that I have to have them but I want to. I intend to. Last year when I started to get behind I stayed there. This year I’m letting myself move forward with the day-to-day parts of the project even though  I’m not completely finished with the week.

 

Some journaling close-ups.

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In other news, I’m getting all organized up in here:

I saw this new Martha Stewart home office collection at Staples a few weeks ago but didn’t to go crazy getting supplies I didn’t have a specific purpose for. (See, how I’ve changed!) 

I’ve been searching for my ideal blog/website planner and finally realized I was going to need to create it myself to match the idea in my head. And, with that, I had the perfect reason to get this sweet  mini binder. It also means I have a place to track my post ideas and for future planning. And, a place to tuck away your questions and ideas for future posts. I love hearing what you want to read more of, what  is helpful and/or interesting to you. That kind of feedback is awesome, please keep it coming!

 

To read all of my Project Life posts click here. 


Triggered by my recent clip

You’ve heard of the dad who popped a couple bullets into his daughter’s laptop, right? I’ve been so frustrated by the coverage, and public reaction to that story I had to address it in my most recent “Raising the Hardy Boys” column.

Here’s the link if you’re interested: Public tries to substitute opinion for information.

It was impossible to sum up my frustration eloquently in 600 words. There is so much that we’re missing in this story. Whether we agree with what he did or not, this event has triggered (yeah, pun intended) a massive, emotional response – that is part of the big story – why?

And then there’s the story of the fact that we don’t seem to have each other’s backs as parents at all. Sure, if we know each other we make allowances for off days or errors in judgment but if we don’t know you personally and you do something that raises our eyebrows, ire, or even the hair on our arms we’re quick to call in Child Protective Services (who have real kids in real danger to protect by the way) and then sit back and watch the circus from our couch, safely removed from it all while another family get’s theirs turned upside down.

Except but for the grace of God are the tables not turned. We all have moments we’d just as soon not have broadcast to the nation and beyond. Moments, say, when we reacted to something our kids did with our hearts and egos instead of a more grounded television-worthy place. Because we’re people first,  parents second. 

I don’t know a single parent who doesn’t want to be as good a parent as they possibly can. Let’s try to remember that when we see someone fall short of what that means to us and hope that same grace has our back when it’s our turn on Dr. Phil, or whatever.

p.s. Want a sneak peak for next week’s post?

PL Hack

My Project Life Hack (aka Tickler file) … wish I could think of a better name for “tickler file.” Anyone?

(The point of the thing is to serve as a home for all those papers that clutter up counters, desktops and purses, fridges and bulletin boards.) Details, instructions and Q&A to follow next week, if you’ve got questions post them in the comments or email me.


Mining gems

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For years I’ve been working on getting the right title for Ani and Izzy’s story. This morning, as I’m mining my journals—in Volume 49—I found a chunk of notes for the book and this little gem: “…This should be called ‘Coming Clean.’”

In one way or another those two words describe every major and minor character’s journey. I can’t express how thrilled I am to know I’ve finally, finally nailed it.

(Past working titles included: Pants on Fire, Breaking Branches, Truth be Told, The Secrets we Keep).

Finding that felt like when I discover the sunglasses I tore my house up looking for were on my head the whole time.

I’ve been putting off this mining project for years and finally must do it to make forward progress on finishing this book and developing my journaling curriculum. More on both of those soon, no really- I’ll be back soon. I’ve had plenty to say lately but been sick (AGAIN?!) as well as very “mentally jumbled.”

Soon, I promise!

Meanwhile … here’s another random gem I found in this journal that describes a bit of what’s happening in this story (and, you know … life):

Life is not an after school special where interventions always work, friends and family come around and every apology is forgiven, amends neatly made, the past tidily in its place.

Real life, real addiction, real recovery, real people are messy.

People get hurt and bad things happen.

But people also heal and Grace happens.

If we let it.

And what ought to be universally known but (we each must learn alone) is that self help, healing, finding, and allowing Grace is up to each of us individually.

And even if someone you love doesn’t arrive at the same time as you, it doesn’t have to hold you back.

Yes, everyone winces when you turn the light on in a dark room, but you have a right—a responsibility—to shine your light and to not shrink from its brilliance.


Spring Training for Writers

I told you about my new magic 8-ball in my last post and promised to be back with an interview with my writing coach, and yours if you’re ready to own your writerly self.

So, here it is, an interview with Christina Katz:

The Writer’s Workout Guest Q & A For Leap Day

 

So, what’s The Writer’s Workout all about?

The Writer’s Workout contains 366 ideas—one idea per day—intended to encourage writers into prosperous action. It reviews critical skills for every writer such as improving craft, learning to sell work, how and when to specialize, ways to keep learning and growing, self-promotion from the basics through advanced topics, and how to balance traditional publication with self-publication.

What makes The Writer’s Workout different from your first two books?

Like all my books, The Writer’s Workout is a mashup of various types of writing instruction. However this book contains a distillation of my experience, my students’ collective experiences over the past decade, and the universal experience of being a writer across the ages in the form of what I hope are 366 timeless quotes. This is my third book and it differs from my first two books quite a bit in focus, objective, and format.

How is The Writer’s Workout different from other writing books already out there?

One thing that makes The Writer’s Workout unique is that the rise and fall of the how-to curve is set against the backdrop of the seasons of the year. The seasonal backdrop helped me deliver advice for writers on four levels: beginner, intermediate, seasoned pro, and veteran—each paralleling a season: spring, summer, fall, or winter. The result, I hope, is one idea every day that will help writers find and maintain literary momentum all year long in these highly distracted times.

Some people say these are tough times for writers. Others say there are opportunities around every corner. What do you say?

I say we are living in a gig economy, where professionals are stringing freelance jobs together into creative careers. We’re all doing the best we can, finding and maintaining our momentum. Not only can The Writer’s Workout assist folks who are just getting started supplementing their income with writing, it can help people who have already been writing professionally recognize that there are more opportunities to build income streams writing than any of us have realized. And then it’s just a matter of choosing the goals that will best suit your goals. 

How did you come to write The Writer’s Workout?

Prior to landing the deal for this book, I was offered the opportunity to write a different book about how to be an organized writer—a topic that, unfortunately, did not feel like a good fit for the way I work.

I recommended a former student for the job and started asking myself, if not that book, then what book did I want to write? Jane Friedman, then publisher at Writer’s Digest, and I sat down in an airport restaurant after the Writer’s Digest conference in January 2010, and brainstormed the idea that evolved into The Writer’s Workout. Basically, I wanted to encapsulate everything that I’d learned from working closely with hundreds of writers over ten years. Two years and many thousands of words later, here it is.

I understand your book is almost 400-pages long, yet you offer classes on writing “short stuff” and “micro-publishing.” How do you reconcile this apparent double standard?

You have to look at it this way: the book is 366 short pieces collected and placed in an order that creates a longer movement. That’s exactly how I was taught to write fiction in graduate school. This write short before you write long school-of-thought is also how I teach writers to draft and polish publishable work. We start short and then extend the jumps until, next thing you know, the writer is writing long pieces like features, e-books and even books. How? By pulling together shorter pieces to create longer pieces.

 

You have been called a “gentle taskmaster” by your students. What does this mean and why would writers need this kind of help?

A coach is a person who trains others to perform better. Every writer needs a kick in the pants now and then. This book has plenty of boots in the caboose and also acknowledges the challenging times we’re living in. Reading this book is like having a personal coach for your writing career, who holds you accountable to your potential, every day of the year. Get this book if you would like to have your own personal coach without the massive expense of paying for one. You’ll be your own best writing coach by the time the book is done.

 

Our workdays are constantly disrupted these days. What do you say to the writer who has trouble focusing and following through?

I rarely hear students in my training groups complaining about dramas or distractions in their lives. If something upsets their focus, it’s a major life disturbance like a trip to the emergency room, a spouse’s job loss, or a death in the family. That’s life calling, not a distraction.

Our attention can be hijacked by one hundred and one meaningless distractions per minute. I say turn up the focus and the distractions will fall away. Drama and distraction are not necessary for self-expression but they sure can impede it. I say keep the drama on the page. You can get hooked on making grounded creative progress just as you can get hooked on chasing every distraction and fanning the flames of every potential drama. The cure for discouragement is accomplishing a short-term objective every day.

 

I understand The Writer’s Workout originally had a different title. What was the original title?

The Writer’s Workout actually had three previous titles. I’ll share them if folks, who have read the book, will tell me which they think is the best match with the final version.

  1. The first title was: Read. Write. Grow.
  2. The second title was: The Everyday Writing Coach.
  3. The third title was: The Anyday Writing Coach.
  4. And the fourth and final title was: The Writer’s Workout.

Personally, I prefer The Writer’s Workout. But what does everyone else think?

Any final comments you would like to make in closing?

At the end of the day, it does not matter if you are self-published or traditionally published, blogging or not blogging, a book-sniffer or a digital diva, a social media maven or a social media deer-in-the-headlights—what matters is that you cultivate the creativity that wants to be expressed through you. That’s your job. Go do it!