Archive for the ‘Distractions’ Category

I committed at the year’s beginning to write about breakthroughs on the fifth of every month.  I’ve proceeded to miss the deadline every month since.  This might have something to do with my theory about deadlines killing creativity.  Or this could be the result or my creative slump where I let doubt win a little each day.

So what does every struggling artist do when she wants to forget a deadline looming over her head?  She distracts herself with a million other things to keep her mind busy.  The bakery has been an easy distraction with jobs popping up here or there.  They’ve kept me buried in flour and sugar on most weekends.  The jobs even give me a slice of creative hope while I’m piping cakes and frosting cookies.

Another thing keeping my mind wandering is a constant Psych episode string with my children.  My submersion into the witty psychic and his hella funny sidekick consumes all my waking moments.  The fact I can hide my addiction by watching with my kids is an extra bonus.  I try to glean some creativity confidence with the 80’s banter flying and wonder how I can work Mikel Jollett into my story so he’ll do the cameo when I sell the rights to the movie.

When the deadline finally arrived this month and the 5th clicked over on the calendar, I loaded up my gal pals for a shopping road trip.  Now before you shun me for being a complete cliché, I needed a mall with more stores than Justice and Piercing Pagoda to stock up for my Mexico trip.  We had a lovely day critiquing our wardrobe selections, glamming it up at the MAC store, and chowing down at PF Changs.  Each of us remembering the meal unlike our last time when we dined before The Airborne Toxic Event show, posed for this picture in the middle of the restaurant, and proceeded to make many party fouls.

Damn you, PF Changs


What does this have to do with anything about breaking through doubt?  I’m not sure.  I know I’ve been living.  I’ve been hanging with the kids, visiting family, reading books, watching movies, putting in long hours at work, walking in the morning, shopping with friends, and growing the bakery business.  I guess with all that going on there hasn’t been much time for doubt.  There hasn’t been much writing either.

I think this is where I am for the moment.  I’ve lessened my obsession with Twitter and have tried to remind myself there’s no clock ticking with my dreams.  It’s my choice when I want to pursue them and when I want to put them on the back burner.  My mom said “Maybe this writing thing ran its course?”  But I don’t believe that either.  I think it’s on hiatus.  Waiting for me to get the creative burst I need to throw myself back on the scene.  For now I will appreciate where I am and look forward to where I’m going.  It’s the only way I’m going to write my life story without any doubts.


Read Full Post »

I don’t hide from the fact I’m addicted to television.  Our dysfunctional relationship ruined many nights when I could no longer sustain a conversation due to my unavoidable need to see how a Lifetime movie ended.  When I picked   writing back up five years ago I had to end my lifelong tumultuous affair.  Sure, we had our occasional awkward meetings when the kids turned on The Regular Show or Adventure Time.  I’d give a look, show a little interest, even watch the whole episode.  But it wasn’t the same.  It was nothing special.  Nothing like what we had before.

Now I’m in a place where I’m a little out of sorts.  A little sad some might say.  It’s been a tough year personally and it’s resulted in chiseling away my perseverance to do the things I want to do.  Instead the overwhelming changes in my 8-5 work-life requiring much more of my time has left me drained at the day’s end.  The last thing I want to do is work more.  Or even think a little.  It’s in this weakness my old friend came calling.

We were social at first.  The children cuddled with me as we watched some favorite shows.  I convinced myself it was family time even though I shushed everyone when the climax showed up fifty minutes in.  Then we started meeting alone.  I flicked on the television after dinner and then snuck away some nights to stay up late into the hours basking in the soft glow.  I knew it was getting out of control.  Picking back up where we ended in 2009.  And although disappointed in myself, I didn’t resist television like I should have.

Like any addictive relationship I’ve convinced myself it’s something good.  The excuses are plenty with “it’s not like it was before” and “things have changed.”  All the while I know in my heart it’s leading me back to the same road I traveled five years ago when I wanted something different in my life.

The need to write turns in the back of my mind.  It whispers for me to leave my addiction and come back to the place where I find real happiness.  Not the fake thirty minutes with canned laughter and dramatic musical crescendos.  My characters wait for my action to take back my mind and get back to work in creating their world.

The new year is around the corner and I’ve already begun to plan what I want in 2014.  It has nothing to do with ducks, housewives, or Kardashians.  Instead, I’m amping up the goals to make sure there is no time for my old friend to come around any more.  It may be difficult, even a bit impossible.  Plan to see more writing, baking, and hopefully some concert love.  So cheer me on as I break free from my electronic chains and take back the person I want to be.


More of this, less drooling in front of the television.

Read Full Post »

It’s hard to believe the holidays are here.  I’m about a month behind.  You might have noticed from my lack of attention to the blog.  A build up of other life duties has left my blog a little bare.  Now I’m half way through December and realizing there are still tons on my “to do” list.  One of those things is Christmas cards.

The other day Anna Bulbrook tweeted about the subject.

annatweetI immediately wrote back.


Thank God she came back proving why I love her so much.

anna card2

One tradition I have each year is Christmas cards.  I love receiving personalized notes whispering hello from people I wish I saw more often.  The difficult to read script only makes the sentiment more special as it gives another layer of their personality.  It’s the ideal way to wish someone a joyful celebration.

On the opposite side there are the holiday communications I CAN NOT stand.  These seem to have grown in popularity.  The appeal may be the ease in investing little time while reaching a large audience.  Sound familiar to something like spam?  Here are the ways not to wish someone a happy holiday.

The Brag Letter

It’s been around the longest and continues to show up every year.  It painfully lists through all the things accomplished in the year, interesting or not.  It drones on about every touchdown your kid scored to every movie you watched in the year.  The part I don’t understand about this letter is do the writers really think all readers care about the same things?  No.  And you know what?  The writer doesn’t care.  This letter is about them proving they’ve done something great with the last 365 days since you received the last one.

The Photocard

Costco, Wal-Mart, and Shutterfly have made this option too easy.  In fact, they’ve priced it so low you almost have to be an idiot not to buy them.  They’re the easy way out.  Worst part about them is the generic typed message on the side.  This is the “I’m so glad I have only 200 characters to basically sign my name” area.  I’ve fallen victim to using this card in busy years.  I tried to convince myself it wasn’t so bad because I wrote a personalized note on the back.  It wasn’t different.   It took months to wash away the disappointment with myself.

The Jib Jab

Ah technology.  The latest thing to grace the list of cheesy holiday greetings and by far the most offensive.  Each year I’m forced to watch Photoshopped heads dance around with some goofy song polluting my ears.  Usually, it’s parents with adolescent children who make up the dance crew, but this year my friend put her babies’ heads as two of the characters.  Her excitement when she sent me the link was met with my utter dismay at the horror.  She couldn’t understand why I rejected it totally.  (Don’t worry, she doesn’t read the blog.  I’m safe.)

This may rub some the wrong way.  They might point out how busy the month is.  There are packages to purchase and meals to cook.  They could defend by saying something is better than nothing.  And I would whole-heartily disagree.  Sending a well-wish shouldn’t be a tick mark on your holiday cheer list.  It should be something treasured.  Let me tell you now, I’m happy to wait to receive my card in the second week of 2014 if it means I’m going to get something sincere written only for me.

Read Full Post »

Do You See It?

Without going into a lot of gory details, I’ve traveled a lot in the last week.  I’m exhausted.  And that means I have nothing to give the blog in this moment.  However, I can’t leave you with nothing.  I want you to come back when my brain works again and I’m witty.  Er, I mean I try to be witty.

I leave you with a wonderful natural sight I saw this weekend.  It’s called Face Rock and it’s located in Bandon, Oregon.  Why such a strange name you ask?  You tell me.  If you can see it that is.

It took me a few minutes.  Truthfully I needed to cheat off the sign.  If you can’t see it, I’ll give you a hint.  She’s looking up to the sky with half her profile above water.  The larger hump is her forehead and her nose is the next slope down.  You can see the two small ridges which make up her lips.  Pretty cool for something that happened naturally.

Be honest.  Did you see it?

Read Full Post »

Why Would Anyone NaNo?

If you have a writer friend in your life, you may have heard about NaNoWriMo before.  It’s probably followed by a lot of cussing and self-loathing.  For those of you who have not been around me in the month of November, NaNoWriMo is the project to write 50,000 words in the month of November.  This may not sound like much at first, but that translates to about 7 1/2 pages a day.  A. DAY.

You may want to know why would someone put themselves in this position voluntarily.  Reasons will vary by the writer.  It can range from the newbie writer who wants to have a deadline to light a fire under their creative self to a slumping writer having a hard time crossing the finish line of completing a novel length piece of work.  My own reason was to hate my first draft.

It may seem counterproductive for a writer to hate their first draft.  My mind must agree because it fights me on it with each book I complete.  Although I read story after story about published authors pushing through the first draft crap to get to the fun of revision, I find myself married to the first thing I write.  NaNo seemed like the perfect opportunity to allow myself to hate the dribble spewed out since most NaNo work isn’t usable.  What I got was much more than that.

NaNo forced me to not think.  To keep up with the grueling word count, there was no time to think.  Luckily, I drafted the story before NaNo began.  This was something like programming the GPS before barreling down the highway at 100 mph.  It didn’t really help once I missed a turn because that GPS bitch takes forever to recalculate, but it did keep me from driving off a cliff.  There wasn’t time to worry about word choice because minutes were precious.  Push forward, you’ll catch it later.

Creativity flowed.  With no time for doubt to cloud my mind, the words came out quickly.  I haven’t re-read them yet (see above for why) but they are there.  When I thought the words, they typed onto the page.  In hindsight, I might have spent some more time drafting my characters before starting so I didn’t get confused at some times, but again, that’s saved for revision.

With all this flowing, you’re probably expecting for me to declare I have 50,000 words under my belt.  Nope.  I didn’t finish.  Even though there is a day left, I have no hope to catch up.  Why didn’t I finish when the creativity poured out of my fingers into my work in progress?  Because I took a vacation.  Where I thought this would allow a lot of time to write and keep up with word counts, the opposite happened.  Activities got in the way of setting aside time to work.  But that’s okay too.  Writing is solitary and if the opportunity comes up to experience new things and meet new people, you should take it.  Even if it hurts the word count.  Hearing Taps played for the unknown soldier, watching my son read the Gettysburg address, and visiting family I haven’t seen in twenty years will enrich my life much more than the NaNo completion shirt I could’ve owned.

My children reading the Gettysburg Address at the Lincoln Memorial.

Was it all for nothing?  A waste of time?  No way.  I’ll still continue with the novel I’ve started during the month of November and apply the things I’ve learned in this experiment.  (Maybe with a little less self-loathing.  Maybe not.)  I definitely walk away with an appreciation of waiting until the edit before over thinking everything.  And that was the goal in the first place.  The jump-start on a new manuscript I’m pretty excited about is a side effect.  Having taken away so many benefits from this experience, I’d call my first year of NaNo a success.

Read Full Post »

I can’t stand the excuse “I don’t have enough time.”  However, I will admit completing posts for this blog have taken a nose dive to the bottom of the priority list.  Things above it include the usual: job, family, baking, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing baking blog, and finding time to enjoy myself along the way.

To show you I have not forgotten about you or this blog (neither of which I take for granted), I have a clip from a recent album I purchased.  It cheers me up every time I hear that peppy synthesized beat.  The band shocked me when I learned there’s no chick in the band.  Think about that when you listen to this song and try not to act surprised.

I leave you now to enjoy music and know I will be back soon with something entertaining (hopefully) to say.

Read Full Post »

I am completely obsessed with cake.  Well, at least for the last few weeks.  My moods switch easily between the baking mediums.  Cupcakes, cookies, and now my latest fixation is cakes.  Not only am I working hard to make them taste good with solid recipes, I’m delirious with working on frosting techniques, fondant, and even gave gumpaste a go.  (Oh, what a disaster that has been so far.)

What does this have to do with writing?  It’s my distraction from it.  When I get blocked, frustrated, or want to think something through, I bake.  When I obsess about the book so much I strangle any creativity from my body, I bake A LOT.  Hence, my obsession with cakes.  The result?  Instead of a well-written blog, you get a picture of a cake.

I’m pretty proud of this cake.  The pink ruffling was my first go around with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and I danced with excitement when it pulled together.  It’s a different story right now as I try to whip it back to a usable texture.  Hubs got so scared, he skulked to bed in fear of losing his life if he stayed around the kitchen.

The inside was pretty cool too.  Please ignore the terrible photography.  I served it at a friend’s party and the kids were biting at my ankles for their piece.

The pattern is supposed to be zebra. Many lessons learned for next time.

This is all I got.  Cake.  Enjoy. I will share with you that I did consider saving the picture of this cake for when I read Stephanie Perkins’ LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR.  For some reason, I think this cake would fit.  If you have read the book, would you leave me a comment telling me if I totally missed the mark or not?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »