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Are you like me? I struggle with two inner voices. Well, I have more than two. But, this post is about the battle I fight for creative writing time.
One voice urges me to sit; take some time in my writer’s chair. Write a blog post, rework a scene from that 50k I wrote a couple of years back during NaNoWriMo, or read. It tells me, I won’t write unless I make the time. True.
A second — often louder — voice says other tasks have priority. There is much to do; and the clock only gives me 24 hours. Parenting, family, professional pursuits, volunteer commitments, errands, socializing, exercise, household responsibilities and style hunting all pull rank. Something has to change.
I try to quiet the two voices. Compromise is necessary. Balance is in order. I must live in order to have content. Life calls. Experiences give writing authenticity and encourage connections with readers. Therefore, I must not feel too badly when my writer’s chair remains empty for stretches of time. The voice that compels me to create will be victorious… eventually.
Do you know moments like this? It’s been months since writing a blog post. Writing a random thought or word about life is due. Heck. But, since it’s been so long; writing this post is almost awkward. It’s a similar feeling I have when finally making the decision to get in touch with a close family member or friend I have put off calling.
So, instead of discussing my multitude of excuses for not writing; I am just going to say hello and move forward. In the coming days and weeks, I plan on changing things up at kateschannel. Life changes; and so it is time for my blog to do so as well.
I hope all of you have been well; and that you’re preparing for a summer of hot fun in the sunshine. Take care.
For two weeks I have battled a case of winter snark. Despite an appearance of happiness, peace and goodwill my inner voice continues to have more snark as the winter days linger on. Last night, the snark would not shut up. I was trying to fall asleep. It kept listing one complaint after another. Finally, I demanded silence.
While I am not anywhere close to being snark-free, I stopped living in denial last night. I admitted to having winter snark and signed myself up for a self-imposed, five-step recovery program.
1. Listen to my favorite music when and wherever possible. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Korn, Rob Zombie and Journey are among the artists who help take me to happier places.
2. Girlfriend time puts winter snark in its place: out in the cold where it belongs. Without fuel, the snark does not have energy to thrive.
3. Exercise is my number-one defense against any kind of snark: winter, cleaning, marital, parenting, alcohol shortage, etc. Fitness is a natural outlet for all negativity to escape. Too bad this doesn’t work while I’m driving. Sign language isn’t enough.
4. Writing is my second line of defense. Again, it is another method I use to relieve stress. Once I write it, it’s no longer a burden. I may still need to resolve a problem. But, I no longer feel it clouding my thoughts. Somehow, I achieve clarity on the direction I should take.
5. Attack action item list, which is always growing. After crossing items off, I felt accomplishment, not dread from excuses for not “doing.”
It’s been a while. My hiatus wasn’t even intended. But, then I looked. My most recent blog post is dated July 26. I compare this blog community faux pas to those ancient days when I failed miserably as a snail-mail pen pal. While I like writing, I am just not a letter-writer.
So, that’s my first excuse for being such a lousy summer blog pal. The next five are …
1. Katniss Everdeenstole my attention for seven days as I devoured Suzanne Collins‘ Hunger Games Trilogy. As I finished each book, I had to start the next. With the exception of maintaining my job as family chauffeur, chef, and referee all other responsibilities went out the window. That’s what summer break is for, right?
2. Beautiful revisit with my husband and children to my aunt Kate’s lake house in Claire, Michigan. For one weekend, we relaxed, fished, boated, swam, and hunted for snakes.
4. Missing husbands aren’t all bad. While mine was in Baltimore for several weeks, the kids reveled in the last couple weeks of summer vacation. They visited family friends in Canada, slept in, watched too much television, and ate hot dog dinners. The bonus for me: less mess, no sharing, and uninterrupted time with Mr. Grey and Miss Steele (see no. 5).
5. Fifty Shades of fudgery tied me up for three days. It was one day for each book in the trilogy detailing the kinky, over-the-top, hearts and flowers romance between Mr. Grey and Miss Steele. It is the only story I have ever been interested in rereading; and with the same level of interest as the first read-through. Note to those with lovers: minus some of fudgery, the trilogy is a guide to either re-igniting the fire; or to keeping it lit.
I was about four weeks into my freshman year as a print journalism student at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., when I saw the ad in the student newspaper, Western Herald. It invited aspiring journalists to an orientation meeting at the Herald offices located in the basement of the Faunce Student Services Center — called the Bird Cage by faculty and students — on the western edge of WMU’s main campus.
Originally, I planned to stay away from any extra-curricular activities until sophomore year. In response to seeing this ad, the rational, play-it-safe side of my brain said, “Don’t go. Get a grip! Focus on studying and adjust to “college” life.”
My intuition said, “Go for it! Why wait?”
So, at the date and time stated in the ad, my intuition and I walked into the Herald offices. We listened with great interest to the editorial team talk about the various sections of the paper. All needed for more writers. Prior journalism experience wasn’t necessary. Bonus!
I knew taking the opportunity to write for the Herald was as vital to my professional success as acing all of my classes. There isn’t coursework out there that surpasses the experience one gains from practicing what will be expected in the newsrooms around the globe. Student newspapers at both Central Michigan University and Michigan State University wouldn’t have even glanced at freshmen-level, inexperienced writers.
During the long trek back to Ackley-Shilling, I felt pride swelling in my chest. For once I had taken a risk. I listened to my gut; and went with it. My first story assignment for the Herald was stowed in my backpack. I had decided to begin my Herald experience with the arts and entertainment section. Later that evening — using the press release and accompanying information — I wrote a draft to use while typing the story into the computer when it was due back in a couple days.
As promised, I returned to the Herald offices with my what I thought was a completed story. I typed it into one of the MacIntosh computers reserved for the paper’s writers in the Herald’s copy room. Upon keying it in, I let the A&E editor know I was finished. Within seconds, he told me it was a great re-write of the press release, but not what the Herald needed as a finished piece.
The story needed more details as well as quotes from the sources listed on the press release. They were closely connected with the piece I was writing and would give depth to the story. As I listened to the fair, but telling critique, obtaining the said quotes and details meant picking up the telephone, punching the phone numbers in, and talking to people.
Those who know me today, might be trying to stifle a giggle at this admitted bought of shyness. But, it’s true. Up until that day, I hated calling people on the phone — I was not well acquainted with — to ask questions. This particular situation was pushing me to ask experienced media and public relations professionals relevant, intelligent, and quote-producing questions. Gulp!
Well, I couldn’t just sit there looking at the phone. I needed more details and some good quotes. The A&E editor was counting on me; I couldn’t let him down. Plus, I wanted more writing assignments. After three successes, I would receive payment (beer money) for each story the Herald printed.
“Go for it,” I said to myself. “Think about attending Bud Light keg parties instead of the ones offering Natural Light.”
So, I made my list of questions and called my first source. After that, each time I needed to make over-the-phone or in-person interviews, the whole Q&A bit became easier. In fact, my ability to swallow my fear and forget my anxiety that day prepared me for what I would do later in my career as a writer. I had deadlines to meet, this is what was required, and I would do my best.
To me, the success stories in the creative world are all about going for it; and taking risk. Those creative forces — writers, filmmakers, actors, photographers, artists, designers, stylists, painters, chefs, etc. — who inspire me all push the envelop to evolve, develop their talent, and achieve their goals.
Some of those creative forces worked right along side of me in the Herald offices in the Bird Cage. But, you’ll have to wait until next week to obtain a glimpse of who they are.
As promised, I am sitting in my writer’s chair thinking about those two 7-at-11-ish lists I need to publish. One needs to contain 7 things I remember about myself that are appropriate for public consumption. The second requires selecting a meager seven blogs — from my just-updated blogroll — to bestow this great honor upon.
Thing 1: I am nearly out of ice cream, which is my favorite summertime treat. This means a grocery-store run is in the cards for tomorrow.
Thing 2: My daughter thinks my favorite store is Meijer’s, which is my local has-everything store. While it’s convenient, I despise going there. Here’s why: I am there almost every day. My 40-year-old brain just doesn’t remember all the items that must make it into my cart; even when I have a list. That means repeat trips for one item, which then, of course, turns into more.
Thing 5: My dad is a sailor. Before marriage and children, he purchased Veliero, a 32-foot Galaxy. He raced and cruised Veliero from Bayview Yacht Club until 2009 when he sold it at age 80. His love for spending breezy, sunny afternoons sailing the waters of the Great Lakes took hold of me before I learned to walk and talk. I was only 10 months old when he secured me to stern in my baby walker for a sailing trip to the Georgian Bay.
Thing 6: My maternal grandmother is a fourth cousin to Charlie Gehringer, one of the greatest second basemen of all time and Detroit Tiger from 1924-1942.
I must say I feel a bit like a player on Donald Trump‘s The Apprentice. Here I sit at his boardroom table. Friends and foes are on both teams.
Then the question from Mr. Trump himself:
Kate, who are your seven nominees and why?
All eyes are waiting for this list to post. If it’s bad and exclusive; I could be seeing ugly blog stats in the morning (and who wants that on a Friday?) and an exodus of followers. So, like The Apprentice players who stay in the game a while, I’m going dance around this question; and then waffle a little.
My list of nominees is…
to the right. See the section called, Blogroll. I nominate each and every blog listed for the Kreativ Blogger Award. So, I’m going to list new blogs I love that haven’t been added to the right, yet. Don’t worry. My blogroll will include them all — and probably more — for easy clicking soon enough.
One week ago I met Susan, author and blogger at Sillyfrog’s Blog. Immediately, I felt an instant connection. The vibrant photo of a frog adorning her header made me think of my daughter Issa’s passion for animals and natural wonders. Then, upon reading some of Susan’s posts I found her love for children, family, and nature to an irresistible element to her writings. Finally, her creativity inspires.
With these thoughts about Susan’s personal and creative accomplishments, it is with great honor that I accept her nomination for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Once again, I am called to revisit a favorite quote I posted about a couple weeks ago, “Good people, find good people.”
I do believe in the connections — virtual or personal — people make with one another. To ensure I follow the code for being a blogger with some manners, there are rules I must follow upon accepting the Kreativ Blogger Award. They are …
Copy the Kreativ Blogger Award logo and place it in your post. (Check)
Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. (Check)
List 7 things about you that people might find interesting. (7 at 11 tonight)
Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Kreativ Blogger Award. (Ditto #4)
Leave a comment on the blogs you nominate to let them know about the award. (Ditto)
Remember when dittos were the norm? I loved getting out of class to make dittos for my teachers. Those were the days. What did you like getting of class to do?
A new blogging friend, Kayla at The Gen Y Girl, inspired the title of this post. She mentioned jotting her millions of ideas on Post-Its. She stores them in her purse for future reference. I do the same. Sometimes I have to be outta my writer’s chair to drive my children around, clean my house, socialize with family and friends, walk Buddy (my adorable Pekingese), or visit my gym (which I haven’t done in months). Whenever I have an idea; and I’m not at home, I have to be prepared. At a minimum, I have a pen, pencil or crayon at the ready; as well as paper scraps (hopefully without gum stuck to them).
Currently, my head is crafting a series of posts related to a fave quote I referenced here last week. The series has transformed into much more than I originally envisioned. This transformation happened while in car waiting — with my son, Riff — for Issa (my daughter) to complete a reading session with her tutor on Tuesday. On the back of a coloring book page I found in my glove compartment, I made notes about this series and then doodled a bit. I realized Part 1 of the series would take a bit more time to ensure a quality post. So, be on the look out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can count on me to write on a few other ideas.
Well, here it is. As promised, I wanted to call your attention to my updated blogroll. It contains all the blogs I read on WordPress as well as some I picked up through my blogger site. Each of them is a fave. Subject matters vary as do the writing styles. But, there is one thing each has in common with the other: they are all damn good blogs written by good people.
During an interview for a newsletter I write and publish, the interviewee gave me a quote that replays on a continuous feed in my head, “Good people find good people.”
Don’t you agree? It’s okay if you do not. But, I can honestly say that each blog I sign on to follow is a true treasure to me. I believe in the connections blog communities foster and hope that all of you are finding/developing common threads with those visiting you.
In closing, I have more to say about good people finding good people. But, I will save those words for my post next Thursday. Be on the look out for some lines about the good people I call family, friends, teachers and neighbors.
Have a good night, morning, afternoon or evening wherever you happen to be.