Archive of ‘The Write Stuff’ category

Reading Slump and Writers Block

What happens when you can’t decide on a book to read or a topic to write about? My worst nightmare. A reading slump and writer’s block. Okay, it’s not a nightmare, but it’s so frustrating.

Let’s start with my reading life. January started out decent. I read two books and liked them both fine. Then, I DNF’d book number three — “Overdue,” a behind-the-scenes look at the public library system. It sounded good when I heard the author give an interview. In reality, I didn’t want to learn anything that would ruin fond childhood memories of storytimes and reading clubs. Then, I chose two different personal essay collections. Both were national bestsellers; neither held my interest. I switched to fiction and picked up a novel I had put down because I was bored with it. I read two more chapters and put the book at the bottom of my TBR pile.

I took a week off from reading and threw myself into work projects, reorganizing closets, and watching The Bachelor. Today, I pulled out two bestsellers that have been on every “Best of 2022″ list I’ve seen—Carrie Soto is Back” by Taylor Jenkins Reid on Audible and  “Verity” by Colleen Hoover. Fingers crossed.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been doing plenty of it. I compose emails and catchy subject lines, edit videos and website copy, take notes in meetings, brainstorm story ideas, and make lists. Someone once told me that if I wanted to be a successful writer, my day job should have nothing to do with writing. Too late for that! If you ask my bosses, I’ve been very productive. But it isn’t the same as working on my book or finishing a blog writing challenge. All of my good habits, like waking up early, reading for inspiration, and sitting down in the chair to put pen to paper, have failed me lately.

But I’m not quitting. I’m starting over, not from scratch, but from experience, which is where I left off.



Such A Good Day

The rarest and most precious of weekends are those when I have no plans and can spend the entire day however I please. Take today, for instance.

I woke up at 8:30 am and stayed in bed until 9. I sunk into my favorite spot on the living room couch, savored my coffee, and enjoyed the view from my bay window. It was cold outside, but I was nice and warm indoors, sporting my best flannel pajamas. I am about a week behind on the Ultimate Blog Challenge because I had COVID and then a three-day work retreat out of town. I’m sure I won’t catch up to everyone else in the challenge, but I’ll do my best.

With that thought in mind, I sat down at my laptop with my second cup of coffee and started writing seven pages of total crap. Okay – not total crap, but nothing worth posting yet. 🙂

I walked away from those pages and opened another document. I’m taking a writing workshop and wanted to finish providing feedback on another person’s manuscript. After that, I completed my submission for the workshop and sent it out to the group. Needing a little more feedback, I sent my piece to my sister and two good friends for honest reactions and extra support.

Then, I went on to my next writing project—my Trader Joe’s shopping list. Butter chicken and Naan. Sesame seed bagels and lox with the Everything Bagel seasoning. And Hold a Cone ice cream for dessert. It was probably the best thing I wrote all day.

And then, I returned from food shopping with the full intention of getting back to writing. But I cleaned out my email inbox instead. I’m a loyal subscriber to a few dozen newsletters, but I’m no help to their open rate. I ignore so many of their emails that are chock-full of the inspiration and motivation I need to keep going. I dove into my inbox and drowned myself in writing advice.

Now, it is two hours later, and I haven’t written anything else today (except this blog post), but I’m feeling recharged and focused on the tasks at hand. I should really get moving. But I have dinner plans tonight. So stay tuned for another blog post and much more where that came from starting tomorrow. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed your Saturday. 🙂



A Change of Scenery

I decided to take my own advice and enjoy a change of scenery while I write today’s blog post. On weekdays, my morning routine is to get up early, make a cup of coffee, solve the Wordle, open up my laptop, and write at my kitchen counter. The house is quiet, and I’m at my creative best at this time of day. On weekends, the kitchen is the absolute worst place to write. The phone rings endlessly, thanks to sales calls about our timeshare, recorded messages from elected officials, and prescription reminders from CVS. The only juices flowing in there is the one made from oranges.

I do have some other viable options of places to write on the weekends. I’ll sit on the couch by the bay window, which brings lots of sunlight. There is good pillow action there and no tv in the room. But, when I settled into the couch with my brand-new lap desk, I realized my laptop was too big for it. It slides off in this annoying way that is not conducive to the writing process.

My daughter’s bedroom is also available, and she has a door that closes. It’s an excellent alternative, except for our dog. Chloe will ultimately find me there and scratch incessantly at the door until I open it and pay attention to her.

So, this morning I found myself thinking: where else could I write?

And then, I remembered that we have a new library building that I don’t take advantage of often enough. It is air-conditioned, well-lit, quiet, and void of distractions, diversions, and dogs. I quickly packed up my bag with everything I thought I needed – my laptop, laptop charger, cell phone, cell phone charger, earbuds to listen to music, and the dongle to plug into my iPhone. I also brought a mask, a notebook, a pack of tissues, and a bottle of Gatorade.

I grabbed my keys, and away I went for an amazing afternoon of productive writing time! WOO-HOO!

As I unpacked, I patted myself on the back for putting this time to good use and carving out quality time for my craft. Why haven’t I done this before? This library is the perfect spot for writing. It’s not crowded. The Wi-Fi works and no password is required. There are plenty of nice spaces for me to choose from and settle in. If I want a study room, I can reserve it ahead of time. If not, I can plop myself down in a spacious cubicle and look out the window at the pretty trees surrounding the building. I happily set up my workspace and got busy.

It was then that I realized I had forgotten my purse. Inside my purse are a few other essentials I hadn’t considered bringing until I needed them the most.

  • Reading glasses to see the laptop screen clearly
  • A pen to write in my notebook
  • A library card because I should probably check out the book I want to read instead of buying it at the bookstore.
  • My driver’s license, money, credit cards, house key, etc.

Seriously?! What woman leaves their house without a purse. (I’m sure many women do, but I am not one of them). I could do without the library card. My husband is home, so I don’t need my house key. But, a pen and reading glasses are some necessities. It’s like going hiking and leaving my outdoor boots and water bottle home. I am not prepared!

But, it is so peaceful here that I decided to make the best of it. I have lots of laundry at home, and once I start on that, who knows if I’ll get anything written today. I’ll consider this library trip a dry run and not make the same mistakes twice.

P.S. If you see any typos in today’s post, now you know why. 🙂

1 2 3 4

%d bloggers like this: