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#creativity, #goalsetting, What I've Been Working On

More than a month—that’s how long it’s been since I’ve made a new post. The good news: It’s because, after a busy summer, I’ve hunkered down and am writing, writing, writing again (just passed the 100 page mark on my second book —woot!)

The bad news: Working in earnest on my novel means, after work and family commitments are factored in, I have little time to write much else.

There are blog posts in recent weeks I’ve written in my head multiple times (mostly as I’m walking into work or on a run or driving). Ones that will probably never get written (though I do hold on to the ideas for future possibilities!) because now is not the time and the time is not now.

That’s the mantra I’ve given myself for this creative season I’m stepping in to, one of progress and productivity and trying to get this darn book done already.

It’s a good place to be in, a familiar place (I didn’t blog at all when I wrote my first book), and one I’m excited to return to, especially with winter encroaching. (I feel guiltier writing in the summer months … all that sunshine makes me feel like a fool for staying indoors!)

Earlier tonight, I did this thing where I spent like, 30 minutes trying to find a story I’d read a few weeks back on this topic (of writers escaping all other obligations—friends, social commitments, social media—so they could finish their work). I thought I’d saved it on Twitter, but then could never find the link and I got so ticked about the precious time I’d lost (which was really just an exercise in the art of procrastination) that I closed my computer and walked away. Ten minutes of pouting later, I came back to it and thought, Write the post anyway.

In some ways, tonight’s inner battle is the perfect metaphor for what I’m trying to do creatively right now: push through the days when what I’m writing might be crap; silence the parts of me that want to argue I can’t write a book in 20(ish) minute-increments a day (I absolutely can and have done so already); and remember that I put this website together to highlight my writing and share occasional peeks into the journey. Not to win a popularity contest or impose limits on myself (i.e., ‘I must blog two times a week) I cannot keep.

As much as I wish I was in a season right now where I could keep sharing such posts (because I really do love writing them—the What I’m Loving and Friday Frame of Mind entries especially), I wish even more to stop feeling guilty over embracing the season I’m in right now: the one where the work is getting done. Because first and foremost, this is all about the work and, off the screen and on the page, it’s getting done. I promise this is true and I hope someday I’ll have a published manuscript to show for it!

In the meantime, aside from a few posts about some freelance work I’ve completed recently, expect to hear little from me until I finish this latest novel. When I do, I’ll take a selfie popping a glass of champagne and we can all celebrate together (and by ‘we,’ I mean me and my mom who is my most loyal follower 🙂 )

(Writing so much lately also has put me dismally behind on editing personal photos … as in, I think the last time I printed a photo of my son, he was in a snowsuit. Here’s a pic from a recent visit I made out to L.A. to see a girlfriend. This second novel of mine features a Midwestern kid getting his first taste of L.A. so the caption to this image is “Research”.)

 

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My Turn at Summer Camp

Growing up in the Midwest, I never experienced summer camp. At least, not the type I’ve read about in fiction. At this year’s annual gathering of the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, I got it. All those reasons people love the camp experience? Getting away, connecting with others, helping people, staying up late, partying, and walking away with a year’s worth of memories made in less than a week? That is this writers’ workshop in a nutshell. This was also the workshop at …

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The magic of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast

Last night, after putting Dean to bed, I pried myself off the MegaCouch to tackle some chores when I remembered I’d been meaning to listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new “Magic Lessons” podcast series. I queued it up on my phone, stuck my headphones in, and got to work. But something happened five minutes in: I turned into this crazy person who started talking to … herself? Liz Gilbert? The women calling in? I don’t know, but every five seconds I was nodding …

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The Ten Year Rule and Respecting My Apprenticeship

Okay, first thing’s first: This isn’t exactly a rule, per say. However, there is a widely accepted truth that a writer’s path to publication is long. Exactly how long? Well, the number I seem to keep rubbing up against is somewhere around ten years. (No wonder so many writers give up on this journey!) A few months back, this notion stood out to me like a sore thumb as I was reading a wonderful book of writing prompts for research for …

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Do it or don’t do it

One of my favorite books on art and creativity is Steve Pressfield’s The War of Art. If you’re a creative who’s never read it, order it. [I’ll wait a few minutes …] Is your copy on its way now thanks to almighty Amazon? Great. Because here is where I share the part where Pressfield asks: “Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question …

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