Archive of ‘Writing’ category

Write Every Day? Really?

Hear me out.There are two schools of thought on how to be a great writer.

Write every day.

Don’t write every day.

In writing workshops, this argument can get intense. For those who have never experienced this heated conversation, it can be compared to the ongoing breastfeeding or bottle-feeding debate. It’s a personal decision. People typically pick a side and remain adamant about their choices.

I’ve tried writing both ways and I still can’t decide. Here is what I have discovered.

Writing every day is something that I can absolutely do, when I really commit to it. For me, this means I must wake up at the crack of dawn to write a blog post. Why so early in the morning? Because I have a day job and a family and a dog that begs for my attention. And laundry and dishes and…and…and…you get the idea.

Plus, I’m a morning person so it is truly the best time for me to write. Once I get something down on paper (yes paper!), I have a cup of coffee and type it up. Then I walk away from my laptop and allow myself time to think about what I want to add or change. This is also when I decide whether or not I really want to share what I’ve just written with the world. I make edits, proofread it one more time and then hit publish. The entire process takes about 1-2 hours–for one blog post–because I care about what I write. Because I want you to read it and like it or at least have it resonate with you in some way.

I take that responsibility to heart and I hope I deliver.

But, maintaining this routine every day is a lot of pressure. I sign up for blog challenges (like the one I’m doing now) with the best of intentions. But usually by the second week, I fizzle out and then I gain momentum again.

Does this mean I’m not committed to writing? Certainly not! (How could you ask me that? :) )

What it means though is that sometimes I like to let the writing come naturally. I often believe I do my best work that way. Sure, if I was writing a novel, my ass would be in a chair all day, every day until my deadline. Perhaps, there are different rules for bloggers. If not, there should be because there are some days where I have nothing to offer.

I know the ultimate goal is to develop good writing habits and get into a routine. Since, I write and edit every day at work, I think that should count towards my writing time–even if it isn’t for my own blog.

Clearly I’m torn so I do a hybrid of both methods when I write. But I think I’m still developing good habits. Quite honestly, I could beat myself up about this or I could just sleep in.

 

Your Next Read

I’ve taken too many creative writing courses and sat in too many writing workshops by now to just appreciate a book from cover to cover. Now, I think about the author and the writing process he or she went through to get this story published. I think about the choices she made for her characters–everything from their mannerisms to their first names.

Roo. Ben. Rigel. Orion. Claude. Poppy.

One of the first questions I asked at my book club meeting after reading “This is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel was where did she come up with those names for the children in the book? And why did she pick one normal name and 5 really unusual ones.

Then, we dove into the meat of the story which is how to raise a child whose is born male, but whose gender is female. And how young is too young to decide that you want to be a boy instead of a girl? And how does a parent both support that child and protect them at the same time in the real world? How does keeping this family secret affect her siblings and what happens when it all comes crashing down?

There were some fascinating themes in this book. Real 21st century issues that I’ve only heard about in passing come to life in this book. It definitely made my own parenting worries seems much smaller than before I picked up this novel.

But, I think the best part of this book had nothing to do with the actual story and everything to do with the way the author told it. The words she used and the way she weaved them together into a compelling family drama captured my writer’s brain and my reader’s heart. Take this sentence that starts off a chapter about halfway through the book.

“Parent time is like fairy time but real. It is magic without pixie dust and spells. It defies physics without bending the laws of time and space. It is that truism that everyone offers but no one believes until after they children: that time will actually speed, fleet enough to leave you jet-lagged and whiplashed and racing all at once.”

Sound familiar? If so, pick up this unforgettable read.

My Sick Day in Haikus

Ah-choo, Ah-choo, Ah…
Blowing my nose til its red
It’s so not pretty


Kleenex are everywhere
Not thrown away, I don’t care
Excused from housework


Turn on the TV
Please bring me some orange juice
Now leave me alone


I stay home from work
Robo-calls the whole day long
Can’t go back to sleep


Where the heck is Whoopi?
Why is she not on The View?
Friday, she is off
(Sad)


Do not shake my hand
Keeping my germs to myself
Just blow me a kiss


Tired of being sick
Tea and honey are working
I’ll wake up better

My Shot

Cue the music from Hamilton…just kidding.

This is going to be a brief post tonight because I am in the middle of writing a piece for a Writer’s Digest contest. I have to submit 500 words on why I love writing.

I once saw a poster that read “Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” Others have told me that just the act of submitting something means I’ve already won because others simply didn’t bother to give try.

So, what do I have to lose…nothing. What do I have to gain – being featured in Writer’s Digest in their February 2018 issue–that’s what. I like those odds.

Here goes nothing. Wish me luck. :)

Questions and Answers

I have a book on my desk called 300 Writing Prompts. Whenever I have writer’s block (or just not a lot of time to blog on a Sunday night), this is my go-to book to get in the right frame of mind. Sometimes, I’ll open it to any page with the intention of committing to the first topic I see.

Tonight, I opened the book to three different places and nothing inspired me to write anything at length. So I decided to post some short answers to my favorite prompts. Here we go:

  • What is my favorite way to spend a lazy day? – Reading a book or reading through a ton of magazines while sitting on the couch in my pajamas all day drinking coffee and listening to music.
  • Write about something that is presently in my life that is “worth it” – This one is easy. Spending time with my kids as much as they will let me because soon enough they will go off to college and parenthood as I know it to be will be over.
  • When was the last time I got lost? – The first day I drove my brand new car to work through the narrow streets of Manayunk. It was January. There was fresh snow on the ground and cars parked along both sides of the streets. The road on my normal commute was closed and I was cursing the fact that I had to take a new and unfamiliar route and didn’t spend the extra money on a GPS.
  • Three realistic goals I would like to achieve in my lifetime – Write a book, tourĀ  Italy and see my grandchildren grow up.
  • What do I need right now? – Dinner already made for tomorrow night, a solid idea for the book I want to write, and money for my new kitchen.
  • What do you think is the most important question in life? – Will this make me happy?
  • What takes too long? – Laundry
  • Which household chores do I hate doing and what do you like? – I like
    de-cluttering and reorganizing different areas in the house. I hate cleaning the bathrooms.
  • What am I happy to finally check off my to-do list? – Today’s blog post. :)

 

I Don’t Know What to Say

It’s day 3 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and I’m in the middle of two blog posts that aren’t quite ready for prime time. One is about how bad I am at teaching my daughter to drive and the other is about my kitchen renovation which hasn’t even started yet.

And, it isn’t because I have writer’s block – although I’m no stranger to it. I’m just not into either of these topics today. Today, they seem so mundane.

I think that it is just because I really don’t know what to say. These slice of life topics that have high priority in my own life seem so unimportant when people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are fighting for basic needs – food, water, electricity, medicine, communications. Today, our hot water heater broke and so did our dryer and my family is annoyed and inconvenienced. But, we will still have food on the table tonight and a warm bed to sleep in,

And I don’t know what to write when a madman kills 59 people and wounds 500 more in a random and senseless act of violence. And I can’t understand why our leaders pass laws restricting a woman’s right to chose, the right to marry whomever we love and the right to free speech and yet are so carefree about gun control and saving lives.

So, do you really want to hear about my kitchen today? I didn’t think so. Maybe tomorrow…