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Writer Gotta Write Nov 06

Ah, November. The month of the writer. #NaBloPoMo and #NaNoWriMo here I come!

But wait! Have I already failed? My first published post of the month is today. I only have one other in the works for this blog, and one for my professional blog. My many novel bits and pieces have a layer of dust so thick, they are barely recognizable. 

But does that mean I’ve failed at the yearly writing challenge? 

No. 

November is like the new year for writing. It’s a month to remind ourselves why we do write, and should continue to write. And it’s not because the internet tells us to all month long. 


Writing is therapeutic.
Use daily writing to vent your angers and fears. Write them down and throw them away. Writing gives you the opportunity to say what you can’t say out loud in real life. You can also empty all the mundane tasks in your mind onto a task list and turn them into ordered plans and actions. 


Writing helps to enhance communication skills.
Without routine practice, skills deteriorate, and writing is no different. Clear, concise writing allows for better communication between friends, family, and coworkers in our increasingly digital society. 


Writing reminds you why you’re doing this
– whatever this may be. I’m reminded of this every time I see my social media feeds fill with gratitude posts as we count down to Thanksgiving. Too often we find ourselves dwelling on the negative and wondering how we got to this terrible place. For the majority, that’s just not true. There are highs and lows throughout life, and no matter whether you’re on a little low or a LOW low, it’s important to remind ourselves of the good in us, in our lives, and in the world. 

For every one out there that thinks they’ve failed because they haven’t kept up with the national month of writing, think again. And again and again. Then write about what you were thinking about. It doesn’t have to be published after it’s written. Write for the therapy, the enhanced communication skills, and to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

Writers Gotta Write Jan 09

For many years now, I have put together bits and pieces of stories. For a few years now, I’ve promised myself that I would pay more attention to those bits and pieces, and to turn them into real novels.

But I got in my own way. That little voice in my head kept telling me that I wasn’t good enough. That my standards as a reader were too high, and therefore my writing would never meet my hypercritical qualifications.

So I did some research. The best way to write better is to write more. In addition to the bits and pieces I wrote for myself, I picked up a couple jobs as a freelance writer. The pay was good and the subjects were interesting, but the passion wasn’t there, and it showed. My fragile ego took a beating when I wasn’t good enough to continue writing, even though I’m not sure it could be any farther from the genre I wanted to write.

It took awhile, and several more bits and pieces of fiction written, for me to pick myself up and dust myself off. The ideas started fluttering through my head on a more regular basis. After Christmas was over, I had some free time for the first time in two months. Rather than stress myself writing, I downloaded several new books to my Nook and began to read.

Reading has me analyzing how great stories are written. What it takes to make a story capture you and leave you satisfied when it’s over. These are qualities that I want my own writing to have, and to improve them, I have to know them.

How do you recognize those qualities? I’m not sure, but I know that sometimes when books end, I have questions. Or feel disappointed. And taking time to discover why will ultimately improve my own writing.

I’ve decided to post some book reviews. I know, I know, I’ve said this before, and the ones I started are still drafts. But this time, not only are the posts about the most recent books I’ve read already written, but they’re already scheduled to post. So stay tuned. The first step towards improving my writing is on its way.

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What is my “Brand”? Apr 12

Since the moment I decided I wanted a blog, everyone has asked me about branding. What’s my brand? What will my blog be about? Who am I writing for? What will make my blog unique?

I never had an answer to those questions. Or, if I did, it was very vague. 

I’ve been blogging for five years now. Inconsistently, randomly, and not always valuably, to myself or the world. But sometimes you need an outlet to get something off your chest, or be uncharacteristically unreasonable and illogical.

I’ve done all those things. I want to continue to do all those things because they’re important to my mental state. But it needs direction. It needs a reason for me to come back and create new content regularly. 

So, let’s dream together. 

My husband and I have had some incredible traveling opportunities in the 14 years we’ve been together, and it’s time to share. Not randomly like in the past, but purposefully. I’d like to start with a more recent trip. Prague? Nassau? Or one of many reviews I could do of Disney World resorts?

Do those seem too far out of reach at the moment? I’m an avid fiction reader, what is your favorite book world to escape into? I have several must-read authors and will be reviewing their books, and I’d love to add new authors to my list. 

What should we dream about first?

 

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Why I Prefer the Written Word Mar 02

The more I am required to interact with other adults and children, the more I find myself responding to things with, “I’ll email you.” Or, “Shoot me an email.” 

I have never been a spontaneous or instantaneous person. Everything I do, say, or write has been analyzed for as long as the situation will allow. The longer I am allowed to analyze and decide, the more confident I am in my choice of words or actions. 

By choosing the written word, I allow myself the maximum time to formulate a response. 

Does anyone else need this processing time? Or are most people able to interact more spontaneously? Has anyone taught them self to be more confident in their spontaneous interactions?

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On Writing Sep 26

The written word fascinates me. I’m a voracious, though often limited, reader. This has led me to create many pages of my own fiction writing that have never seen the light of day. I read them, and occasionally add to them, and they just sit on my computer’s hard drive gathering virtual dust.

A few months ago I kept seeing someone asking for writing help. Non-fiction blog posts. Paid. Extra money sounded good (and turned into a blessing) and I needed something to do that was on an adult level rather than the under age 5 level. So I gave it a try. And it was good.

But some days, despite my love for words and need for income, I find it difficult to write. I sit at my computer and stare at a blank screen. Or I’ll open WordPress on my iPhone with the intention of posting here and stare at a blank screen. And then I walk away and ignore one of the things I love, though usually in favor of another.

My husband shared a post with me a few days ago that hit the nail on the head when it comes to the difficulties of writing. How I Trick Myself Into Writing. I do SO MANY of those things, and have discovered that I can be very picky about my writing environment as well as my reading material.

I need a quiet environment and to be alone. Until I find the groove, even the cat yawning is a distraction.

But I have two young kids. And a husband who works from home. There is no quiet and alone.

So how else, in addition to the aforementioned post, can I trick myself into writing? How do you convince yourself to write?

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Unnatural Aug 30

It feels unnatural to come to this space, to write.

Not that I haven’t written. I’ve been working from home, writing mostly marketing copy for a social media advising company. It has really helped maintain a more adult vocabulary and interpersonal interaction way better than my usual stay at home mom activities. It is also helping to fill the income gap left when my husband accepted a lower paying job at a company where the owners and operators actually have souls and feelings, as opposed to his former employers who just wanted money, however they could get it, in order to maintain their cushy lifestyle.

Slowly, writing has brought me more into “true” adulthood. It filled the tiny gaps brought on by revisiting childhood with my own kids, just as I had begun to make forward progress into adulthood prior to their birth.

But there’s something else that feels unnatural, and leaves gaps of varying sizes.

It’s knowing that my baby, my first baby, the child who made me a mother, has begun to grow wings and fly.

She just finished her third week as a kindergartener. And, while it may be becoming routine, it is really no easier now than it was that first day. At least for me. She’s flourishing.

The time I have with her to teach and play is minimal, and always interrupted by the need to maintain our loose schedule for the sanity of all of us.

The time we have to work through her feelings has also diminished, but it’s obvious she has learned how to juggle them. It’s not perfect yet, and probably never will be, but she doesn’t need to lean anymore. She can stand on her own until she hits a bump that needs guidance. She is slowly conquering her emotions and anxiety.

And increasing mine. Anxiety and I are old “friends,” I’ve mastered those bumps. But the emotions? I’ve never been an outwardly emotional person, I tend to write out or bury my feelings, but there is so much more tangible emotion watching my babies grow.

Is this a quirk unique to me? Or is this something that mothers go through?

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5QF is back!!! Mar 20

After a very long hiatus, Mama M has brought back 5 Question Friday! I’m so excited! These random questions really help me keep the dreaming part of my blog name alive. 😉

Here’s this week’s questions and my answers:

1. If I had 5 minutes alone with Mother Nature I would tell her?
I know Florida is a semi-tropical climate, but can we PLEASE have snow Christmas through New Year’s and real spring and fall before we melt all summer?

2. If you could eat only one thing for a whole week what would it be?
This week it would be Chipotle burrito bowls. Last week it would have been Thai food. And I’ll never turn down Mac n cheese.

3. What is your favorite season and why?
Fall. Hands down, no contest. The weather, the food, the holidays… And my youngest’s birthday!

4. Do you have a meal that you are AMAZING at making? If so, share the recipe!
Ummm… I love to cook and I’m good at it. So it’s hard for me to pick something. My husband’s favorite thing I make is meatloaf, so I’ll ramble about that for a minute.

I don’t measure when I cook, so I apologize for the lack of real instruction. First, melt a tablespoon or so of butter in a sauté pan over med-low heat. When it starts to get foamy, toss in a small to medium sweet onion, diced. Salt it liberally and add 2 dried bay leaves. While that starts to sweat, mince or paste 2-4 cloves of garlic depending on size and pungency. When onions are totally translucent but not brown, add garlic to pan. Keep cooking and stirring until onions and garlic start to take on a golden color. When you start to see gold, grab your bottle of ketchup. Pour enough into the pan to create a cup or a little more of “sauce.” Turn off the heat, stir, and allow to come to room temperature.

Once sauce is cool, get your ground meat. I use ground turkey, but have also done beef and beef/pork. Mix in enough sauce so that you can smell it when it’s combined with the meat. Often, there is sauce left over. Add about 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs to meat and sauce mixture. You need enough so that it keeps the form of a ball or loaf as you stir it in the bowl. Then dump it in a shallow baking fish, shape slightly and put it in the oven. 40 minutes at 350 degrees works for me with ground turkey. When time is up, let rest 10 minutes, slice and serve.

If you had sauce left over, you can make a great side sauce by adding 1-2 tablespoons each of brown sugar and your favorite hot sauce depending on how much sauce you had left ad how sweet/hot you want it.

5. What has changed in your life since the last 5QF? (8/2/13 was the last one! Wow…over 6 months!)
My oldest is in VPK this year and she’s become such a KID rather than my baby. Bittersweet. And my youngest, who can be a terror, is now so much fun and really blossoming in her Mom’s Morning Out program at the school big sister attends. It’s been awesome seeing them in the same school together, and I’ll miss it when big sister moves on to elementary school in the fall.

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December 2013 Dec 31

We set ourselves up for a busy month. We had a list of Christmas activities to complete. Of the 15 activities I could think of, we completed 12 and added making gingerbread houses out of foam and stickers, Christmas scenes painted with water, completed two rather than one round of Christmas cookies, and made Christmas trees out of chocolate and pretzels and decorated them with sprinkles.

I alluded to our new adventure and it is now complete with its own recap to come.

Now it’s time to prepare for the new year. What should we do? What goals should we aim for? I’m not big on resolutions, but every year we get older and it becomes more important to aim for a healthier lifestyle for the adults and teach a healthy, happy lifestyle to our kids.

It’s time to dust off the once a month recipes, eat more vegetables and get out there and be as active as we can in the coming year. This gets easier as the kids get older, as I have found out. 😉

Do you make resolutions? What are your goals for the new year?

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A New Adventure Dec 28

In April of 2012, we bought a popup camper. Since then, we have only taken one camping trip to somewhere other than Fort Wilderness (where we’ve stayed 8 times that I can remember). That changed the day after Christmas when we left for Stone Mountain, Georgia.

The kids are familiar with the popup and they’re familiar with Stone Mountain. A friend and I took the kids there less than a year ago to participate in Snow Mountain. But when it came time to plan our holiday trip this year, our first choice – Fort Wilderness – was booked. And it was still booked when I tried to call over the next couple weeks. So we had to change our plans, and I mentioned this trip.

It’s a big trip. Towing the popup means you have to be careful where you stop and watch your speed. It may handle well, but you all know that occasionally you find yourself going WAY too fast on the highway and that won’t work when you’re towing something. It also means cramming the kids in the car for 8-10 hours. The trip up last time took 10 hours and the kids were fussy by the time we got there. The trip home? Took 7.5 hours. They knew what I meant when I said we were going home and they didn’t want to stop for ANYTHING. My oldest didn’t pee the entire trip home. It was a very odd adventure, but one my oldest and I really wanted to repeat.

So we did.

If you follow my Instagram, you’ve seen our adventures “live.” If you don’t follow me, but will start now, you can flip back through the pictures from the trip. They might appear here, they might not, but there will be a recap written at some point.

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24 Days of Christmas Togetherness Nov 30

So, last year (when I was reading blogs) Carrots n Cake did 24 Days of Togetherness with her husband. I thought they were great ideas and would bring a lot more Christmas spirit than just floundering through the season – especially since it’s so short this year!

I decided to come up with my own list for the family and myself to work through this December. I’m still short a few activities, but I’m hoping that as I do the ones I have planned, I’ll come up with a few more! (And, if you’re looking for couples activities rather than family, Carrots n Cake is doing it again this year!)

1.  Make hot cocoa. And not the instant kind.
2.  Buy a Christmas tree topper for the mini tree that decorates our popup camper during the holidays.
3.  Watch a Christmas movie. (What’s your favorite? If we all go see Frozen, does that count? :))
4.  Take a drive and look at Christmas lights.
5.  Take a selfie
6.  Bake Christmas cookies (possibly gingerbread people)
7.  Sing and dance to Christmas songs (I’m thinking this will happen several times ;))
8.  Go for a nature walk. This won’t be nearly as pretty in central Florida as it would be in, oh, say, the Smoky Mountains, but we’re going anyway
9.  Have a fire in the fire pit.
10. Buy and wrap a present for Daddy
11. Enjoy delicious holiday beverages from Starbucks. Or Dunkin Donuts.  We love all things with a pound of sugar and caffeine.
12. Take an informal family photo
13. Make a foam wreath and stockings as interior decorations
14. Check out the tree and lights at Cranes Roost Park
15. Go to Disney and see the dancing lights at Hollywood Studios

What would you add to your list? I need 9 more ideas! :p

Follow our adventures on Instagram!

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