Sunday, October 30, 2016

Diligence & Discipline For Hire - 50,000 words required

It’s that time of year again…when many writers decide on whether or not they are going to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  It can be a difficult decision to commit to and since my last go-round with NaNoWriMo was in 2014, it took me until yesterday to finally decide whether I was going to join.

So what did I decide?

I decided I’m in.

It’s a tough time of year to commit to something so time-consuming, especially when I review my schedule and know that I’ll be taking part in this challenge while working around so many other responsibilities and upcoming events scheduled throughout the month.

But then, I’m a sucker for a challenge.

Besides, each month of every year has a number of responsibilities and events that we can use as an excuse not to join.  There’s a saying that if you make an argument for your limitations, then you get to keep them.  So why not make an argument for the possibilities instead?  There is no risk in joining, other than that the coveted word count may not be reached, while the rewards gained from this challenge can last a lifetime. 

And if I’m honest with myself, it’ll be good for me. 

NaNoWriMo is great for any writer who needs to re-evaluate their time management, taken an exercise in discovery and learn to work around obstacles.  Time management is a necessary evil when you have days full of to-do lists.  An exercise in discovery is what can occur when you are quickly creating something and prevent yourself from getting in the way of your creation.  And obstacles in life are pitfalls that may give you pause and make you ponder, but they should not prevent you from finding time to be present and ready to create. 

So I’m going to work steadily with diligence and discipline as I inch my way down the page each day towards my goal.  I’ll enjoy taking part in a creative process that will inspire me as I keep a steady rhythm and gain valuable habits. 

Whether or not I reach the goal of 50,000 words, I know the exercise will still benefit me in many ways, but I’m going to do my best to earn my completion badge at the end of the month.  I’ll be posting throughout November as I take part in the NaNoWriMo challenge.

I’m excited and ready to begin!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

This (storm) too shall pass…be prepared but positive.

It’s funny how Mother Nature can teach you a lesson without even trying.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the bulk of the western side of Washington was preparing for the worst…a storm of “epic” proportions, to quite possibly match that of a storm that occurred even before I was born.

Going to the store for a plain ‘ole gallon of milk became a chore, as shoppers had to swim against the horde of frenzied consumers who thought they needed enough food and water in light of the possibility that they might be stuck in their houses for…I honestly don’t know how long people thought we’d be buried under wires and trees.

If the storm were as bad as they thought it might be, we knew we’d possibly be without power for 2-3 days or maybe even a week.  It’s happened before at least a handful of times over the course of at least two decades.  Because of where I live, in a remote, rural area in a small town, we are usually the last on the list when it comes to how soon we might finally get to see those heroes we call linemen.

The predictions of weather forecasters gave us a good scare as they portrayed Mother Nature in a diabolical way and warned how much we may be assaulted by her.  So everyone hunkered down, waiting out the storm, hoping it would just pass on by.

For us, it did just that.  We were pelted with some heavy wind for a short bit, and a whole lot of rain, but hey…we live in Washington so it’s to be expected.  There are some who weren’t so lucky but we did not lose power or a single tree and we had removed danger trees away from our house years ago, for fear of what might happen if we didn’t.  But I had prepared myself for the likelihood that it might be worse than when we were suddenly, and without much warning as I recall, hit by a storm on my oldest son’s birthday almost five years ago – the amount of trees we lost during that unexpected storm was a sight to behold.

January 2012, what was left after a storm of "epic" proportions
We tried to stay positive, but it’s always good to be prepared.  We had hoped for the best, but we braced for the worst.

There is something to be learned from Mother Nature – maybe she is like any woman who doesn’t like being told what she’s going to do and she’ll go about doing just the opposite.  Maybe, but it’s also how we can all go about living our lives with optimism, courage and confidence, even in light of the possibility that epic storms may occur.  It never hurts to be prepared…that’s a given, but I let the words and predictions of others keep me in a state of mind that left me anxious.  I’m mad at myself for watching the news as much as I did while they kept going on and on about the epic storm we might be up against – those are wasted minutes I can never get back.  We can all act like Chicken Little and claim the sky is falling, but why live in a constant state of panic and pessimism?  If you’re familiar with the fable, not the Disney version, you know most versions of the story don’t commonly end well.  Besides, if the sky were to actually fall, all the time we spent fearing the worst takes away from time better spent in the present. 

This may be well beyond what you got out of this storm or any other, but for me, it just reminds me that we should all do our best to make a habit of being optimistic and expect the best, while remaining confident that if the worst actually happens, we’ll have enough courage in order to handle it.  

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Note to Self...and a Note to Create

I found this note I wrote to myself one evening when I a mood.

Reading it over, I think it resonates with something inside me that others can relate to as well, so I decided I'd like to share it with you...

Note to Self:

To be creative, to stay passionate about what you create, you need to stay true to yourself.  

You need to answer the deepest and darkest questions within yourself.  Sometimes more questions will arise – but that just means more opportunities to write, to create, to find those answers.  

The characters want to speak. 

They want to be a part of your life, to share, to surrender themselves to the scrutiny of others, which means you must also do the same, in some fashion.  

You cannot expect others to understand what you are trying to share, unless you share what others might actually respond to, relate to, and react to, in some way.  

Listen to the characters.  

Listen to your gut.  


Find that passion in yourself, in your work, your story.  

Keep it real and remember, no one has all the answers…we can only stay on the path meant for us and we can either give up, admit defeat and sit on the shoulder as others who create move past us, or we can answer the call and follow the path we’ve begun.

And always remember: follow your chosen path bravely and without reservation or regret.