Every Day I Write Is A Good Day

I’ve been dealing with a lot of personal stress lately and reading, writing, and running have taken a back seat to simple survival. I’ve noticed that I lose equilibrium when I skip any of these things, so I will examine each individually, starting with writing.

I’ve found it difficult lately to keep up with my every-other-day blog-posting schedule. I have, for the first time in the three years that I’ve been blogging, missed a few. I’ve become creative with writing posts after-the-fact then pre-dating them (guilty for this post). I find myself doing lots of writing in an evening to catch up with a lot of days of not writing.

This blog has become a lot of things to me over the years (yes, years!) and some of them were not things I anticipated. For one thing, I now see it as a legacy for my children, and maybe even my grandchildren. Not that my children usually read it, but it is here for them. I never anticipated it as a way to connect with my parents, but it has done that for me too. My dad is my biggest fan and my mom enjoys the pieces I write about my childhood…seeing how differently I see things in memory than how she remembers them.

Writing can be cathartic…although the things I most need catharsis on are not things I post publicly. So, this blog is opening up more of me than I imagined to public scrutiny, but still the really painful things are held back. More importantly, this blog has been self revelatory. I often say I have a poor memory, especially of my childhood, but I’ve been able to remember things long forgotten (and still forgotten by everyone else involved…hmmm…).

It has inspired me to try new things and re-try old things. I read more than I have since my twenties and I certainly write more than I ever have. Even my running is linked to the blog. It has given me much fodder for posts and made me feel accountable to finish what I set out to do. I’ve not been as successful with other goals, but running is one which I will keep coming back to.

Although I’ve gotten behind on the blog, I still have ambitions to finish my novel and the two follow-on books that are incubating in my brain. I’ve thought about going to a writers’ conference and I’ve got one in mind. I just need to work out the logistics and apply. I have learned about myself that I can make myself accountable by putting my money where my mouth is, usually in the form of a race entry fee, and having a concrete, step-by-step plan (usually created by someone else).

I recently wrote about happiness, and one thing that makes people happy is planning a vacation. I can plan a trip to a writers’ conference and accomplish two things at once…moving closer to a lifetime goal, and getting happy in the process.

Embrace what makes you happy and helps you keep your equilibrium so that you can…

Find the Joy in the Journey!

Related Posts:

Every Day I Run Is A Good Day

Every Day I Read Is A Good Day

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Reading, Writing, and Running–Part II

Twenty-one days until the BIG FIVE-OH, and I’m still reading, writing, and running and little else. I am not writing anywhere near as much as I’d like, but I have been reading more and running three half-marathons. I can’t do it all, so I decided to do what ever I want in the little spare time that I have…that has meant not much in the way of housekeeping and little other balance in my life. But then, I think balance is an over-used phrase and I’m not sure whether it’s worth having anyway, at least in the short-term.

So, I signed up for three half-marathons when I never intended to run even one. I trained for months and then ran on a slight injury for my first. Unsatisfied, I signed up for one just seven days later and got the time I wanted. Then I felt lost, not knowing how much to run and when any longer, so to delay any sort of new plan, I signed up for a third, which is coming up shortly. I do not feel prepared, and have learned that in just two short weeks I can go from trained to unprepared.

With all that running, it has made it tough to keep up with my writing. I still want to finish my novel and since it is National Novel Writing Month I thought I’d dust off the old manuscript. Never mind that I’m super busy this month. So far I’ve gotten a much better handle on my characters and my storyline, but not written any new chapters.

Being a supreme procrastinator, I handled all this lack of time and direction, by picking up a novel that my son had been wanting me to read for the last eight years. I wrote about Ender’s Game in my last post and how it opened up a window into my son’s mind for me. I was quick to pick up the second book in the series Speaker For The Dead and dive into that. So much for my writing.

Both of these novels were the so-called “author’s definitive edition” and as such the Introductions were written by the author, Orson Scott Card. As I’ve read these introductions, I’ve gotten a view into the mind of a science fiction novel writer. I’ve learned a lot about writing, re-writing, learning, setting aside, re-writing, learning some more, re-writing some more. I’m a bit daunted by the task in front of me to get my own novel written. Most of all, though, I know I can get the basics down this month, but that there are so many more things I need to think about in my novel. I need to get the basic story down so that I can then tear it apart and put it back together again, over and over again.

I know the fundamental flaws in my novel. I’ve tried to build it on a Campbell’s Hero Cycle framework, but I’ve let the main character act too independently…I need to identify her helpers and bring them on her side early into the novel instead of my idea to explain their roles all at the end like a classic “who done it”. I’ve written the novel in the third person from a single point of view. I’d like to keep that, but that means more integration of dialogue between her and her helpers.

I find the whole idea of writing a novel, a really good novel, so exciting. I need to dedicate a lot more time to it or it will never get done. I don’t think I can do it for a few weeks of the year, I need it to be my main project for the next year or even two. A lot has been going on in my life behind the scenes this past year, but as that draws to a close, I’m ready for the next chapter of my life. That next chapter includes writing my novel.

Find the Joy in the Journey…the housework can wait.

A Fallow Fall Day

All week, I’ve been busy with work and various work-related evenings. It’s been fun, but it’s left little time for my own, personal goals. I’ve had no time to run, even though I am staring down a third half-marathon with little preparation. I’ve also had no time to prepare for National Novel Writing Month even though I’ve promised myself that this year, I’ll finish the novel. So, I entered the weekend on high alert…time to get things done!

Saturday dawned, dark and rainy. I tried to sleep in…something that seems to be impossible for women of my age. I tried anyway…the darkness and soothing sound of rainfall helped. Even so, by 8 a.m. I was up and pondering my day. Rain fell steadily and I knew it would fall, off and on, all day, but by Sunday the weather would be dry. Even so, I felt guilty for not getting my long run in.

Instead, I tried to focus on writing. I’d started National Novel Writing Month off with a wimper…writing absolutely nothing on day one. I’d not even come up with any innovations or plot twists. I struggled through the morning, trying to get a chapter down in writing. In the end, I got a few paragraphs written, but nothing actually happened. Disgusted, I decided to take a shower. Might as well, since a long run was off the table.

While in the shower, heating the water as much as I could stand, I thought about my storyline. It is a classic “who done it” in the guise of industrial espionage. Suddenly, it dawned on me why all of my decoys and red herrings looked guilty…I’d solved a major riddle in my story! I also realized that I needed to write an outline, something that should have been done in October if only I’d not been so busy mixing and mingling!

Thus emboldened, I did nothing. I told my younger daughter that we could watch a movie on TV and I veggged-out. I did grab a piece of paper, though, and start plotting my story starting at the end and working backward. What I discovered is that I’m almost to the end of my story, even though I have fewer than 10,000 words written. This is a serious problem. Or is it?

I read through the story again, and I found an error. I’d changed a character mid-way through and I didn’t know why. This is the risk I took by writing the first few chapters one November, the rest the next November, then spending the third November cleaning it up and fixing mistakes. Apparently I missed this change. I tried to remember why I’d made the change, turning a female character into a male character. It finally dawned on my why I’d done it and it also made me more sure than ever that I’d written additional chapters that were now lost. It did solve another plot-line, however.

So, I am more convinced than ever that my writing style just doesn’t work with the typical NaNoWriMo method of dumping the whole story out, chronologically, until reaching 50,000 words by the end of the month. I am just a more circuitous writer. I write a beginning, I write an ending, I outline later than I should, I get the book down in words, then I go back and add the missing details, I flesh it out. That’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it!

Words written in the first two days of NaNoWriMo? About 400. Words to go? About 70,000!

Find the Joy in the Journey, and the freedom to take a fallow day…great thoughts often come when you least expect them!

Prelude to NaNoWriMo—Attempt Number Four

In the spirit of mixing and mingling during October and trying to race down to the wire on my 50-by-50 goals, I decided to see if adding a social element to NaNoWriMo would help me motivate myself to finish my first novel. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and that month is November. It’s not a very good month for us Americans, as we have our biggest national holiday in November, Thanksgiving. I’d prefer it to be in January, when the holiday rush is over and things are much quieter. It no longer matters, as to meet my goal I have just this one month left anyway!

In 2010, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, getting a few chapters in and then petering out. In 2011, I started up again and got quite a bit more done, although it was a bit disconnected from the part I wrote in 2011. Both years, I did it on my own, but in 2011 I signed-up on the NaNoWriMo website, then promptly forgot I had. In 2012, after at least a month of desperately trying to find the pieces of my novel, I found my missing flashdrive on Halloween…with only hours to spare. Even so, I didn’t end up writing much. I got caught up in editing, which is not the point of NaNoWriMo at all. In those three attempts, I never took advantage of the tools on the website nor the opportunities to get together with other writers in my area.

This year I decided to try something different. I attended a local kick-off meeting on Sunday. It was held at a diner in a town about half an hour away. I asked my daughter if she’d go with me…the lure of a meal was all it took. So, as she ate her macaroni and cheese (and, surprisingly, the accompanying salad), I tried to figure out how this thing was supposed to work.

imageFirst, we all got a little goodie bag which contained some tracking tools, a sticker (because who doesn’t like stickers?), and a printed circle with which to design a button. My daughter made a button commemorating one of her favorite bands and I made one commemorating the kick-off event. I am not much of an artist, and there were no colored pencils or markers, so here is what I came up with.

I did get to meet the “Municipal Liaisons” or ML’s and a few of the attendees. The ML’s plan events, write blogs, head up online forums, and generally support the local writers. Many folks seemed to be well acquainted with one another and already in their own cliques. I learned that if I attended a weekly “write-in” I’d be more likely to succeed. There is one fairly close to my home, so I put those on my calendar. Unfortunately, for the first one I already have two other things on my calendar which conflict.

So, as I finish off my month of mixing and mingling with events every night these last three days, and still trying to fit in a few runs to support my race schedule, I find myself hitting November in high gear with a lot of planning to do and just plain a lot to do. Some of it will fall by the wayside, and that’s ok. Finishing my first draft just rose to the top of my priorities.

Find the Joy in the Journey…there are always multiple paths and if one doesn’t work out, try another!

Related Post:

NaNoWriMo–A No No (2012)

The Book Is The Thing

I’ve been “working” on my first book for several years now. Which is to say, I spend more time thinking about it and talking about it and trying to find the darned flash drive that holds my only copy, than actually writing. This past October, I spent untold frantic hours trying to find it. I found bits and pieces on my hard drive, but chapters were missing. I wrote about how my own writing process wasn’t particularly aligned with the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) methodology or timing in NaNoWriMo a NoNo. (November? Really?)

Even so, I am excited about this writing project. I recently mentioned it to a few folks at work and got a bit animated as I told them my synopsis of the plot. They were mesmerized and told me they would love to read it. Oh my goodness! Such pressure! And, also, such a great inspiration to get back to it. In the midst of my current obsession to get back in shape and lose weight, much has fallen by the wayside. I admitted right off the bat that losing weight required me to be obsessive…and it does…and it is working. So, I don’t want to mess up my weight-loss progress (even though I spent 8 weeks at a plateau).

In the past week, however, a hometown gal put her book up on Amazon…and she highlighted another hometown gal’s recently published book too. I felt like I’d slacked off! Regardless of my own feelings of falling behind, I immediately purchased and downloaded the book by Connie Hansen…a woman who lived next to me on Pine Street…I was three when she was born and she was three when I moved across town. We shared one year of high school together, given the difference in our ages. Even so, I enjoy a Facebook relationship with her. She’s an amazing, witty, potty-mouthed, cookie baking, marketing entrepreneur, novel-writing phenom! You can check out her novel, Code Name VOID  on Amazon.  I am tearing myself away from it only long enough to catch up on my blogging!

Although I have a lot on my plate…and my focus is now on weight-loss and physical fitness…I need to keep up with many other aspects of my life. Now I just need to figure out how I fit novel-writing into my schedule.  In all honesty, the hold-up is less about time and more about figuring out where my novel is going, how my Campbell-cycle rounds-out to a conclusion, and how my sequels are properly seeded into this first work.

When I focus on my novel, I dream of my characters and know them intimately. I worry that I will take so long in writing my novel that the topical nature of it will be old news. In the end, I need to pick it back up again and just write…NaNoWriMo-style…then later I can edit to my heart’s content.

I must admit that I have a wonderful problem…so many creative projects to work on that I have no time to do them all…May we all have so many wonderful ideas and choices that we can’t possibly do them all. Just pick a favorite or two and get on with it!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the joy in every creative project you pick up!

NaNoWriMo–A No No

So, you ask, exactly how are you doing on your novel half-way through National Novel Writer’s Month, aka NaNoWriMo? Not so well; at least not according to the rules. You see, the whole point of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel in a month, to pour out your words at a clip of over 1500 a day. The idea is not to fuss over the words, but get them all on paper, like so much clay that will one day be a sculptural masterpiece.

The problem is that I don’t work that way. Here I am in my third NaNoWriMo (and really, they think November is the ideal month for this?). I do write every day, but mostly that is for this blog. I rarely work on my novel and as a matter of fact had lost key portions of it since last winter. Late in the evening on Halloween, I finally found the missing pieces, the latest draft, which I posted about in, Seek and Ye Shall Find…Your Lost Flash Drive. I also found my notes about the story. It was an exciting moment!

As soon as possible, I read my 12 chapters and got really excited about writing more. But as I read, I noticed some inconsistencies between the chapters written earlier and the chapters written later. I also knew that I had two characters with the same first name, and although that is only natural in real life, it’s just too confusing in a novel. So, I started editing and cleaning things up.

Then I read my chapters again…and again. I really like the story line and even though I agonized over the dialogue, it actually works well. I started day dreaming about my characters and getting to know them better. I wrote out character sketches (again) and tried to figure out what made each character “tick”. I was having fun with the editing process. The problem is that I only wrote a few new paragraphs. I am a NaNoWriMo failure.

This has taught me that there is no “one right way” to write a novel. Every novelist has to figure out for themselves how to get the story out of their head and onto paper. My way turns out to be incompatible with NaNoWriMo…And yet, I still love that the event gets me thinking about and working on my novel. After all, it is one of my 50 by 50 objectives to finish my novel and I only have a year left to do it.

So, whereas others are burning the midnight oil to get their 50,000 words down, I am not. I am spending my spare time these days obsessing about workouts and diets. I am finding success in my Time to Drop a Few Dress Sizes project. It will take my focus for some time going forward to be successful in that goal. In the meanwhile, at least I’m enthused again about my novel and will continue to tweak the story line, get to know my characters better, finish plotting, and eventually write out the remaining chapters. I will do it a little at a time, and not wait for next November (talk about enormous deadlines!) to get it done.

Before the actual month, I decided to order some NaNoWriMo gear…so now I own a “winner’s” T-shirt and a rubber bracelet with a 2G flash drive to store my novel. I suppose I’ll keep the T-shirt in my drawer until I actually succeed in writing the novel, but I proudly wear my actual novel around my wrist some days during November. It is a nice reminder to keep on working at it.

Find the Joy in the Journey…sometimes that means taking a different path!

Seek and Ye Shall Find…Your Lost Flash Drive

Handing out the Halloween candy is not my favorite job. I’d rather be walking my younger daughter around the neighborhood (as long as it’s not raining), but she’s off with the family across the street and my husband and older daughter are busy putting the finishing touches on a college application that is due at midnight.

As I sit here writing this post, I wish I were plotting my next NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) moves, but alas, I’ve lost the last draft I made and despite many frantic searches over the last month, have not been able to locate the flash drive where it resides nor find any evidence that I backed it up anywhere for safe keeping. Kicking myself wouldn’t be productive, but it might make me feel a little better. Then again, maybe not.

I have saved, separately in order to maintain a true record of the last two NaNoWriMo’s, my first five chapters (2010) and my second five chapters (2011). I clearly remember that there were some disconnects in the timeline which I later went back and fixed. I think I also fixed the issue with two characters having the same name. I know I added at least two more chapters which really moved the action along and then I got to a point where I needed to sit back and figure out the ending and how to get to it.

That’s it. It’s on a flash drive somewhere. I’m not really sure what to do. I don’t want to re-do all the work I’ve lost, yet I’m afraid if I pick-up where I left off I’ll either never find the missing piece and have to redo it anyway or I’ll find it and have two disparate story lines.

As I sat near the door to be handy for the trick-or-treaters, I dragged out my “in” box…a nice enough artifact, but nothing like a real in-box. It had a year’s worth of stuff in it. I did find a notebook with some notes on the Campbell Hero Cycle and how I was trying to use it to frame my novel…but no flash drive.

Later on, my younger daughter and her friend came home and I remembered that we owed her friend some money for her “Thing 2” T-shirt. I dug through my wallet for some money and while I was at it, I decided to search my purse, once again, for the missing flash drive. I switched purses in May when I got this new, small, cross-body, bag. I’ve gone back to my old purse and searched it multiple times to no avail. This time, I searched the pouch-like outer pocket in my new purse where I primarily store my reading glasses.

I pulled out my glasses case, a couple of pens, a lip balm, and a $10 bill (yeah!). With all of those things on the floor, I reached to the bottom of the pocket and…pulled out my missing flash drive!!! I quickly plugged it into my laptop and a cursory look was disappointing. I didn’t have the file.

My daughter and her friend wanted to continue trick-or-treating, but the friend’s family had taken their younger girls home. I got my coat and shoes and we headed out in the dark in conquest of more candy. In the half-hour we were out, we found only 2 houses still participating. I dropped the friend at her grandmother’s house across the street and headed home with my daughter.

Home again, I surfed the newly-found flash drive some more. I opened my 2011 NaNoWriMo file and YES! I found the missing two chapters.  I would like to give attribution to Saint Christopher for helping out…but as I’ve totally mixed up my saints, I’m not sure what to think. You see, it is Saint Anthony who helps out with lost objects, not Saint Christopher…and I think there is something about Saint Christopher losing his sainthood…certainly a topic for another post. So, I’d just like to acknowledge, that saint or no, patron of lost objects, um, not…I did ask St. Christopher to help me out and since I did find my flash drive on the eve of NaNoWriMo…I want to give credit where credit is due!

Find the Joy in the Journey…and find solace and hope where you may!

Finding My Muse

Sometimes I have a lot of trouble coming up with a blog topic. Actually, it is a frequent occurrence which explains why I sometimes write long series’ of posts which take the issue of a topic out of the equation. Most recently I wrote eleven posts about Ecuador, eight as a travelogue. My muse is close to me when I travel, even if I am traveling for work; I am outside of my normal routine and open to new experiences.

I’m also finishing up a series on my experience with C25k, Couch to 5k, as I’ve worked my way up to running for 30 consecutive minutes. My muse is out there with me on the road to the point where sometimes I don’t even realize that I’ve been listening to the same song over and over again!

I have at least a dozen half-written posts, including the one I had planned for today. I recently read that if you can’t finish a piece, it really isn’t inspiring you and probably won’t be any good. So, I will spare you the piece I was writing for today! I go back to the half-written pieces occasionally to see if there is something there to pick up and re-write, but so far the abandoned pieces remain as they are.

Sometimes I find inspiration at the office, as I did when I wrote When Did Dress-For-Success Go from Job Hunt to Man Hunt?, but usually work is not my inspiration for writing this blog as I have chosen not to write about my work or anything else that makes me too identifiable…which is odd given that most of my readers are personal friends or acquaintances from work!

Accomplishing things on my 50 by 50 list is always inspiring to me, but lately I seem to be flying by the seat of my pants through my life!  So be it, I’m hanging on for the ride. I had thought that August would be my calm-time of the year, but this year has been so crazy that I’ve put off a lot of things I should have taken care of along the way and now August is fraught with festering problems.

When I have the time to read, I find my muse in the writings of old favorites or new discoveries. I love it when the story is compelling, but the writing is even more so…the skill of some writers to write on multiple levels and so eloquently just blows me away and makes me smile.

My children are also a source of much inspiration, but I do have to limit what I write about them for their own privacy. More often, I will write about how they affect me, especially as they get older and are starting to leave the nest, as I did last fall in Letting Go—As My First Child Goes Off To College.

I have tried writing some pieces about my commuter marriage, but I find that I am not sarcastic enough to pull-off turning the depressing reality into something amusing. And unfortunately I haven’t found anything truly amusing about the situation. I even got a call from the Anderson Cooper Show about being in a commuter marriage. My brush with fame that never came to anything…and probably better off so.

So, here I am today…with a post on coming up with a topic!

Find the Joy in the Journey, even if it is just being amused by musing about the muses!

Love What YOU Love…Words of Wisdom From Ray Bradbury

Sometimes there is a person who influences you as you are growing up and you don’t even recognize it until years later. Sometimes it’s a person you know and sometimes, if you are a bookish person like me, it is an author. When I heard the news that Ray Bradbury had died at the age of 91, I was both surprised and saddened. I had no idea that he was still alive and the idea that he’s been alive my whole life until now meant I’d missed knowing about his last 35 years or so…just lived my life without thinking about him.

With his death, I became aware of a certain note he wrote to a teacher in response to an enquiry about how he’d dealt with an obstacle growing up. The answer made me smile. Here it is, as noted on the website, letters of note:

most important decision i ever made came at age 9…i was collecting BUCK ROGERS comic strips, 1929, when my 5th grade classmates made fun of me. I tore up the strips. A week later, broke into tears. Why was I crying? I wondered. Who die? Me, was the answer. I have torn up the future. What to do about it? Start collecting BUCK ROGERS again. Fall in love with the Future! I did just that. And after that never listened to one damnfool idiot classmate who doubted me! What did I learn? To be myself and never let others, prejudiced, interfer with my life. Kids, do the same. Be your own self. Love what YOU love.

Oh, if only I’d learned this lesson as a child! Still, it is never too late to learn such a lesson. The tricky part, once one has grown up, is to figure out exactly what it is that YOU love. Part of my 50 by 50 is just such a quest, and writing is one of the answers.

Ray Bradbury was my first exposure to fantasy literature with his many short stories and even my first exposure to science fiction with Fahrenheit 451. Although my love has always been reading, I found in my readings a love of science and engineering and followed that path through college. Now I can learn another lesson from Mr. Bradbury as I read about his life in the obituaries. He tried to write at least 1000 words a day. That’s a nice goal and a bit more than twice what I average, but at least I am moving in the right direction.

Even though it has been decades since I’ve read a Ray Bradbury story, I still remember how it made me feel to sink into the warm background of the story, absorb the quality of the light, have the sounds trickle into my ears, taste and smell the surroundings. I remember, then, wrapping my mind around the strange things that developed as the story unfolded.

I was older when I realized that he took some of his titles from older literature giving homage to earlier writers such as Shakespeare in Something Wicked This Way Comes and  Walt Whitman in I Sing The Body Electric. In turn, his titles were used in homage to him such as Rocket Man by Elton John in reference to R is for Rocket and perhaps the song, I Sing The Body Electric was in homage to Bradbury rather than Whitman.

After hearing of his death, I dug into the remainders of my library, ravaged by burst pipes during our renovation, and discovered five volumes. I picked up I Sing The Body Electric and dug into the first short story, The Kilimanjaro Device. I quickly traversed the 13 page story and realized by the third page, with just two references, to fishing in Michigan and bullfights in Spain, that it was a story about Ernest Hemingway. I am sure I had no idea of the literary allusions when I first read this story…yet I enjoyed it anyway. This time, I enjoyed it so much more. My third grade teacher was right…she told my mom it was okay for me to read beyond my “level”, that I’d get something out of it and when I was older, I’d get even more out of it. It was no reason to censor my reading.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and may we all live lives as full, joyful, and meaningful as the incomparable Ray Bradbury. Well done, Ray!

Reflections On One Year Of Blogging

One year ago today, I sat in a hotel room with my laptop and read and re-read my very first blog post and with great trepidation I hit the “publish” button on Wake Up Call. Today, when I hit the “publish” button on this post, I will have written 184 posts. I posted every other day for an entire year even though my original intent was to publish only 2 times a week. When I look back on it I am amazed at all I’ve done.

I set out to re-shape my life before I hit the big Five-Oh. My intent wasn’t to re-create myself, but to figure out who I am and to make it all come together in a cohesive way. Raising kids has been a fairly all-consuming thing and I had found that I didn’t really know who I was or what I was all about anymore.

I set out to do fifty things by the time I’m fifty. That is still the rough framework for what I’m doing, but it is not the goal. I still have a year and a half to go and thank goodness! The first year has been one of learning, making mistakes, and finding successes.

Let’s just get right in front of the mistakes…I have not lost any weight on my journey even though I would consciously give up all other gains to have achieved my weight loss goal. To me, this is a major issue…my current and future health is at stake here and this is a place where I can personally affect my future health. Ok. Job not done…needs more work.

Another major area of my life where I want to grow is in my writing…I’m doing well here. In writing this blog and attempting a series of novels, I’m walking the talk. My writing is not consistently good, but I know that the practice is important. In the past I’ve taken writers’ courses and tried to fly under the radar as I’ve soaked up the information and taken furtive notes…but inevitably I’d be asked, “what have you written” and the answer was always nothing. The advice I got was always the same, write and write often. Well, I’m finally doing just that.

Something that has been a bit surprising is all the memories I’ve managed to unearth. I think of my childhood as a hazy place, but I’ve found myself remembering things that I’d long forgotten. I’ve also found that I remember things differently than some of my family members and often I’ve had to readjust my personal memory timeline accordingly. Listening to music and reading books from my younger days have brought back memories. So have reading other people’s blogs and being inspired to write a post of my own based on the suddenly unearthed new memories.

I have reaffirmed my belief that I have too much stuff…if I lived in a much smaller place, I’d definitely be considered a hoarder! As it is, I don’t buy stuff just to buy it, but I also don’t get rid of things easily. This past year I’ve thrown away and given away tons of stuff and yet it only shows in two places, my linen closet and my mud room. Everywhere else seems to just re-fill with more junk. I have a huge attic and an equally huge basement full of old stuff…and I’ve hardly touched any of that. I definitely have my work cut out for me if I intend to completely de-clutter in the next year and a half!

So, as I turn 48 and a half, I am ready to reflect and re-align…I’m reading more, writing more, listening to more music. I also find it hard sometimes to “get” to my fifty-by-fifty because my current life is all-consuming. I work full-time, I’m raising three kids, and I’m still struggling to figure out the “commuter” marriage after four years (out of 26 years of marriage). This is my life, this is my journey.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and be sure to pick your head up and make adjustments along the way.