Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Archive for the ‘routine’ Category

January 30, 2015 Switching it up can sometimes be a good thing

Mornings: Bad, Night time: Oh so good!

I am not a morning person. I never have been and I never will be. My day starts between 8:30 and 9:00 AM and ends between 1 and 3AM. But every so often, necessity is a mother. This morning was one of those days. I had to take my cat to the vet very early which meant my alarm went off just after 6 or, as I refer to it fondly, O dark thirty. OK, so the sun was just starting to peek over the horizon, but nothing short of full daylight is morning to me.

I could have come home after finishing with the vet and tried to recapture my lost sleep, but things interfered with that as things often do. Instead, I found myself catching up on the week’s chores before going out to get the ingredients for what has become my annual Super Bowl chili. (little do they know that it is never the same from one year to the next. I always slip in some kind of change based on things I’ve learned over the year. But as it was specifically requested this year, I guess I’m doing ok). Thanks to my early start, I now have clean laundry, a vacuumed house and clean sand boxes going into a very busy weekend.

Sure, it crossed my mind to do this every Friday, but fortunately, the sloth in me stepped in to stop that from happening. Getting up early is ok now and then, but to do it with any regularity would screw up my schedule. After all, I do my best writing after 10 PM and I’d sure hate to cut a session short because I need to wake up early for some unspecified reason. For the foreseeable future, the sun will continue to see my smiling face only after the nine to fivers have embarked upon their morning commutes. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it!

Critiques are really an opportunity to learn how much your own writing sucks.

As I read through the pieces for tomorrow’s critique session, I found myself comparing them to what I do, and the result wasn’t necessarily favorable for me. The ugly head of writer’s insecurity reared up as I asked myself “Will people look at what I’ve written and find it dull, amateurish, too much description and not enough showing? Will they be thinking ‘she needs to find something else to do with her time”?” For me, I’m really trying to start out with the positives about each piece before launching into anything which might even resemble critical. I’m approaching this from the stand point that I may not understand why they are saying something in a certain way, but I may be alone in my lack of understanding. And just because I watch a lot of crime shows doesn’t mean that the dialogue on those shows is entirely accurate. I ask you, when you call the police, do they answer “Gotham City Police Department, Officer Greene speaking”, or is it more like Castle where they just give a terse “Beckett”? Although I have needed to call my local officers a couple of times, I never really noticed how they answered the phone. And while I’m on the subject, do detectives answer their phone differently than the rest of the force? Do police stations typically have a receptionist or does one of the officers answer the phones?

Clearly, I know way too little to write a police story. Maybe my critique is misguided and uninformed as well. Something tells me I’ll be sitting back and listening to how others critique before I dare to open my mouth tomorrow. To paraphrase an old saying, keep your mouth closed that people might think you’re a fool or open your mouth and remove all doubt.

The website is percolating.

In other news, I have stepped away from working on my website for a bit. I need to just let some things settle before I begin adding, deleting and tweaking again (not to be confused with twerking Ack!) I have some ideas about what I want to do but need to think about how I want to lay it out before I dive in with both feet. I also have the idea for my first article, but that’s going to require time and thought as well.

So for now, I’ll just leave you with my gratitudes as my eyelids are drooping and I still need to get things ready for tomorrow (aside from the coffee which is already set up. I do know my priorities!)

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for changes in my routine
2. I am grateful to be able to share my friends’ joys and challenges.
3. I am grateful for the ladies in my IWSG critique group. They’ve taken on what I consider a monumental task.
4. I am grateful for more opportunities to learn about writing. Honing my craft comes in many forms.
5. I am grateful for abundance: friends, family, love, lessons, joy, peace, happiness, harmony, health and prosperity.

Blessed Be

Please visit my daughter’s new food blog: https://heathersculinaryadventures.wordpress.com/ and my new website: http://www.shericonaway.com

I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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September 21, 2014 Autumn Equinox-change is in the air

Getting back to what works.

Sometimes we move steadily forward, and sometimes, we need to take a few steps back and rediscover that what worked before is still the better way. Such has been my discovery over the last couple of weeks. Not only have I started pre-making my healthy lunches again to prevent impulse eating, but I’m getting the writing down to a routine again. In the last couple of days, I’ve re-re-re written the first chapter of my book, run it by someone who is giving me editorial advice, mulled over the advice, re-written some and held on to some, and expanded what I’ve discovered is my limited knowledge of my craft. Some rules have changed while others simply had yet to be mastered. Either way, as I write, re-write, get feedback and ponder, I’m moving up the learning curve. It’s a little like dancing where it takes a bit longer to unlearn bad habits before forming good ones.

For example, I’m finding that once I receive some feedback, I need to read it, then step away from it until my natural tendency to be defensive wanes, and I can look at the criticism from a purely objective point of view, seeing the wisdom in some, recognizing that the point I was trying t make didn’t quite come through in others. Only then do I sit back down in front of the computer and strive for improvement. There’s a fine line between taking someone’s advice and letting them write the story for you, and that is the line I am currently treading. I’m also having a bit of a struggle with punctuation around dialogue, but that, too, will come in time.

I also find it interesting that I’m getting a complicated message wherein the text should be lean and mean, yet show the reader a picture, instead of telling them something which could be conveyed in a word or two, though eliciting no visceral response.

After several days of writing the same thing over and over, reading it back, changing things, living, breathing and even eating my words, I find that my flow has slowed to a trickle. The thousand plus blog posts I pounded out for most of the week won’t continue this evening. I have just used up far too many words to find that many tonight.

Writing is definitely hard work, at least the part that comes after the initial writing via stream of consciousness. Trying to massage the words into something that more than five people will actually pick up and enjoy is a great deal more difficult than I’d imagined. Will I throw in the towel, concluding that I was mistaken in my ability to tell a compelling story? Not hardly! I just need to spend a lot of time returning to the proverbial drawing board, and studying up on how to make my work better. Giving up is not even an option, here! I saw a few recommendations for books awhile back and will invest in a couple and work my way through them, coming out better informed and better able to produce a memorable, well-written tale in the process.

I’m wounded, perhaps, but hardly broken.

For tomorrow, I’ll get the mundane tasks out of the way early in the day, allowing my brain to breathe. I have errands to run and shopping to do for my son-in-law who is deployed. There are groceries to acquire both for me and my furry children, and by the time I’ve finished, my brain should be relaxed enough to give the chapter one last pass before tomorrow night’s read and critique.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the opportunity to see what I lack, and to correct those lacks.
2. I am grateful for setbacks as they only serve to make me more determined.
3. I am grateful for routines. Some of them actually work better than organized chaos.
4. I am grateful that I’m feeling better now that I’m eating a more healthy diet once again. (Taco Bell quesadilla notwithstanding).
5. I am grateful fro abundance: criticism, guidance, motivation, routines, inspiration, determination, love, health, harmony and prosperity.

Namaste

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