Back on the Wagon

Writing Books  I have not written much nor published anything new in the last couple of weeks. I have been consumed by work and worry. I should instead be happy, enjoying my life and of course writing. I have “fallen off the wagon” of writing daily. How do I get back on that wagon?

A writer friend of mine, that I also work with, stopped by my office the other day and gave me a nudge. Thank you Todd!!

My dad called the other day and also gave me a poke! Thank you Dad!

I have gotten some of my favorite writers advise books out and am getting inspired.

I am swinging my leg back up on that wagon tonight, look for something new this weekend!

How do you reignite your passion when the flame has flickered?

 

 

 

Writing Process Blog Tour – Station Six

Welcome to the sixth stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour!

This is my first ever tour so here’s a big shout out thank you to Todd Baker for taking my virginity. Oh stop, of course my Tour V, not the other! That is not the kind of blog I write, it’s not “The 47 Year Old Virgin,” and my name is not Judd Apatow. Mr. Baker is a memoirist and has two great books out so far; one about his health driven drive towards running marathons “Ten Year Run” and his life as a 40-year-old “Metal Head” in “Metal Fatigue.”  Check them out if you haven’t already.

The next stop on the tour will be with Juni over at “Out of the Well”  she is a Master in Writing and Literature student, a prolific blog writer and she is working on a collective book called “Fall in Love With Writing” in it she is gathering stories, pictures and inspiration from writers across the world about why they write. Pretty cool huh!

But down to business, you stopped by to read a bit about writing process so here are the answers from a true beginner!

What am I working on? 

I am working on a novel, my first, and currently it is just several different stories not completely strung together yet. It is loosely based on the life I have imagined my paternal grandmother lived based on a few facts that I have found in newspapers, pictures and notes in books and a lot of my imagination. And I also write poetry and other stuff here at Random & Rhyme as well as post some of my poetry over at the Poets Corner.

What is my background?

I am from Washington state and have lived here all my life. I love to travel, eat, read, drink, write, drink(oh wait I already said that), play with my dogs and write some more. I have no formal training as a writer, other than a couple of college classes.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Since I haven’t quite figured out my niche, it’s hard for me to answer how I am different. I guess as an individual and I have my own life and perspective to draw from, but I am a lot like any other woman and I hope I have something of interest to say and that my writing will be enjoyed by a few people.

Why do I write what I write?

Since I was a little kid, I have had stories running through my head or scenes, as if from a play, that I would decorate and fill with stories. Now I am just attempting to get them out of my head and on to paper. I didn’t realize just how much I enjoyed writing until recently, but now it’s hard to imagine not writing.

How does my writing process work?

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“My Process” is, I have no process. I work full-time and have a busy life with family, husband and dogs; so I write when and where I get a chance. Sometimes it’s right into the computer for a blog post or poem; other times I write in notebooks from Moleskine, they are thin and come in a pack of three, but are large enough to have room to write. I use a favorite Pilot pen, one of which I recently lost to cabin pressure on a flight from Omaha to Seattle; it was a sad day.  But so far I have found the most important aspect has been to commit to writing every day, even if it’s just a little bit of something, because keeping in the habit is important to finishing that shitty first draft and writing the better second draft.

Writing is an adventure in itself; it lets me explore things I haven’t tried, it lets me time travel, it lets me be bold and it’s helping me connect with people across the world. It has been a short but intoxicating journey so far and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.

Now my friendly readers you are on your way over to “Out of The Well” for the next stop on the Writers Process Tour. Thanks for stopping by Random and Rhyme!

Poet’s Corner

I have really been enjoying writing and reading poetry recently and found this very cool blog with a variety of writers submitting their poems called the Poet’s Corner curated by Harry.  Harry is retired and now has four different blogs that I can find including Poet’s Corner, it must keep him off the streets and out of the pubs.

I asked if I could submit a few of my poems and Harry has allowed me to participate. I have submitted three of my poems so far No Breath, Dad and Obligation Moon and have gotten a few likes for each. I have a couple of more that I am going to submit and am working on a couple of new ones too.

Check it out, there is something there for everyone. Recent posts that I have enjoyed; The Shake Up by Thom, Georgia Station 1943 by JayBluePoems and Mirror-Sonnet by Journeyintopoetry.

Do you write poems?

Who is Charles Wright?

Did you know a new Poet Laureate was just name by the Library of Congress?

What is a poet laureate? Wikipedia describes the United States Library of Congress Poet Laureate, formerly the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress duties and remuneration;

“Laureates receive a US$35,000 stipend and are given the responsibility of overseeing an ongoing series of poetry readings and lectures at the library, and a charge to promote poetry. No other duties are specified, and laureates are not required to compose for government events or in praise of government officials. However, after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001, the then Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, was asked to write a poem to be read in front of a special joint session of Congress. Collins wrote “The Names” which he read on September 6, 2002, which is available in streaming audio and video..<..> When the $35,000 stipend was instituted, the amount was quite large and was intended to allow the poet laureate to abandon worries about earning a living and devote his or her time entirely to writing poetry. That amount has remained the same, so the intent of making it a nice living for a poet is no longer being fulfilled. Now it functions as a bonus for a poet who usually is teaching at a university and earns the bulk of his or her living that way.”

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Charles Wright (Photo from the Poetry Foundation website)

The newly minted American Poet Laureate is Charles Wright from the state of Tennessee. He and previous laureates are described in a New York Times article;

“Mr. Wright, who was born in Pickwick Dam, Tenn., not far from the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh, succeeds another Southerner, Natasha Trethewey. But Mr. Wright’s work — oblique meditations on “language, landscape and the idea of God,” as he once summed up his themes — could not be more different from Ms. Trethewey’s evocations of the forgotten African-American lives, or from the Whitmanesque poems about working-class Detroit by the previous laureate, Philip Levine.”

“Mr. Wright, 78, a retired professor at the University of Virginia, has already won just about every other honor in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.”

Until now I’ve never read Mr. Wright’s poetry nor to be honest heard of his work, which given his prolific writing and obvious success is sad. But now that I am writing a few poems and rhymes I feel compelled to seek some of his writing out along with that of the previous poet laureate’s. I like that our government is supporting this type of artist, even if it is very modestly in this age of big paychecks. I wish him luck and hope that he inspires a few more poets to start on their writing path.

Do you have a favorite poet?

The Fear Effect

Fear is a familiar friend,

it sucks my life without end.

Fear of what I don’t always know,

it’s always there, a common foe.

 

As I write these words I have my doubts.

Don’t write, it’s crap. Will fear win out?

Is fear my excuse or why I fail

or why I don’t make the attempt and chase my tail?

 

Everyone gets scared at times, of this I’m fairly certain,

but the ones who win the game are those who show fear a hurtin!

 

Awhile back I wrote a post about my Nagging Omission with my husband. Well recently I pulled off that bandage, faced my fear and went all in with a quick rip. First I showed my blog to my husband, letting him read several of the stories. And then I emailed most of my family about my writing and gave them a link to my site.

The good news is my world did not crash in, my husband didn’t ask for a divorce and now knows I do not have an internet lover. I haven’t had any irate calls from family or friends, yet. My husband has shown a tentative curiosity about what I’ve been writing and said he admired my ability to express myself and tell a story, but at first didn’t realize that my blog was open to anyone to see. That part I don’t think he is completely comfortable with and has some fears of his own that we will have to work through.

The only other person to comment about my blog has been my dad(technically my step-dad to those who read my blog and are confused) and he commented on a few of the posts and recited a couple of the poems he has written that are very good. He has one about fishing that is amazing and he has sold some copies of it, but he recited two others I didn’t remember. Maybe we will write a father-daughter poetry book some day.

But now that my husband and my family are aware of this blog and some of my writing; I find that a different type of fear is at work now; I am self-censoring and self-conscience about what I am writing.  Because if there are any people I “people-please” for its these people.  This is going to be tough!

Do you share your writing with your friends and family? Is there anything you keep just for your self for just this reason?

 

A Writer’s Pen

A wilting dream and a damning thought,

my soul is broken and black is the pot.

With a crush that occurs one day at a time,

my life isn’t my own because I’m earning a dime.

 

Why do I work at a job I can’t stand,

because my possessions own me and my wallet demands.

A disingenuous smile and a polite hello,

I’m faking this dance to make some dough.

 

Desires for things are too instantly gratified,

while this writer’s pen lays still and petrified.

A stunted potential and an untrodden path.

Why do I shrink from risk? Because I fear the crash.

 

Bird by bird and step by step,

I keep on writing, but feel out of my depth.

I’ve lived with regret and fought for too long,

so I’m keeping my pen and will write a tome.

 

Strive to be ourselves is Hunter’s advice to a friend,

I better figure it out, because it up to me in the end.

Circumstance has made my choice to this point,

now I search for my destiny and it’s making my life disjoint.

 

Self Criticism and Some Instructions on Life

I recently started reading Anne Lamott’s, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and coincidentally one of my favorite blogs, BrainPickings posted an article, The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing. The article calls out items from the book and some commentary from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook page.

What makes Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) so timelessly rewarding and one of the greatest books on writing of all time is that besides her wisdom on the craft, Lamott extends enormous sensitivity to and consolation for the general pathologies of the human condition — our insecurities, our social anxieties, our inner turmoils. Among her most powerful and memorable meditations in the book is that on how our perfectionism kills the creative spirit — something she revisited recently in a short essay on her Facebook page, spurred by a surge in negative comments and vicious troll attacks.

I just finished reading the chapter on “Perfectionism” and I certainly recognized my self as I read those pages. My perfectionism has kept me from doing and trying so many things in my life; if I don’t think I can do something well or know how it works ahead of time I just don’t attempt it. I hate that about myself and want to jump in and try things that I never have and experience things that I have been too driven by the perfectionist tendencies; worrying about making mistakes, failing, looking foolish and so on, to get out there and just do them.

And another quote the article pulled from Ms. Lamott’s Facebook Page really struck this people pleaser.

 “Do you mind even a little that you are still addicted to people-pleasing, and are still putting everyone else’s needs and laundry and career ahead of your creative, spiritual life? Giving all your life force away, to “help” and impress. Well, your help is not helpful, and falls short.

People pleasing and perfectionism go hand-in-hand and I know began at an early age for me. As the first-born your every moment is watched, recorded, critiqued, praised or scorned and corrected.  There is a little note in my baby book (see below) written by my mother that I came across awhile ago and this illustrates nicely how early my perfectionism and self criticisms started.

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Self criticism started early.

Since my mother’s last entry in the book was around age three or just when I turned 4 after my brother was born; this “amusing saying” likely occurred around age 3. I spilled my coffee and milk (more on why my mother was giving a three-year old coffee in another post) and said to my self; “Christ sakes Shari” (more salty language). And I have certainly improved over the last 40 years, never really giving myself a break on anything.

I am going to get that “shitty first draft written“, keep writing and posting here and not let those voices in my head that are telling me I’m not good enough win.

I plan on releasing my copy of “Bird by Bird” on BookCrossing when I am finished, because I’m sure there is another aspiring writer or perfectionist that could use the help.

Do you suffer from perfectionist tendencies?