Taking A Risk #MondayBlogs

Why do I write? The question may be, why don’t I write? I have been writing since I can remember. There comes a point where I need to take more risks with my writing life. Not just on the page but my whole writing life. Am I really living the creative life I proclaim? I would love to say, ‘Yes! 100% you betcha!’ but in reality, I am not. Sadly, my routine has hit a roadblock and I am the only one who can get over the hump. So why am I here now, on the page, sharing with you? Because I like to share my journey with you. Maybe I have done or gone through something that will help you with your writing life. Now, it’s time for me to start sharing a bit more of my writing. More so, parts of my memoir about working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

I have been sharing a bit of Dani Shapiro’s, Still Writing, and I recently opened the book this week to find part of a paragraph underlined. I do this with all my reference books, I underline and tab to make sure I have easy access to the ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I would need at a later date.

I am compelled to take risks. Because there’s no point, really, in spending one’s life alone in a room, out of rhythm with the rest of humanity, unless the stakes are high. ~ Dani Shaprio

Something struck me about this quote. I am taking a risk to. To be here and share with you. Are you reading or just glimpsing? Are you engaged with my stories or am I just writing for the sake of writing? I am taking a risk for being honest to reveal what is in my darkest closets. The other night my partner and I were playing cards and I was thinking of my hotel memoir and the amount of work I still have to do on shaping the manuscript. A few moments must have passed by when my partner said, ‘having trouble finding what you’re looking for?’ knowing I was thinking. ‘No, just moving the many filing cabinets in my mind to organize my writing day tomorrow.’ His response was to be funny and I laughed but he was right, ‘I would think you have layers upon layers of cabinets and those layers have layers and layers.’ Yes, he is right. As a memoirst, I have a spiral staircase of filing cabinets, wooden boxes, and shelves of moments that shape who I am.

Courage is all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. ~ Dani Shaprio

I am taking a risk by opening one of those many cabinets to let out the stories and experiences that have been filed away for another time. By taking that risk, I am willing and have the nerve to write about the life I have had the nerve to live. It is scary as hell. The ego is ready to run in the opposite direction. The fearful questions start to rattle around my mind, ‘What if I embarrass myself? What if my family disown’s me? What if I get sued? What if everyone I know finds out about that time I once did that thing?’ Yikes! Then I take a breath…

What if I don’t take the risk? That would be worse than not writing. I am taking a leap of faith of sharing my experiences of a life I never saw myself living. A career I didn’t think I would take on after my first summer working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. A world that is not for everyone. The hotel world. A world where high expectations are eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A world where living with the same people you work with day in and day out is considered normal. A world where we woke up to the beautiful Victoria Glacier each morning and watched cotton candy pink sunsets each summer night and took for granted. A world where guests could tell you anything and you kept their secrets to yourself as much as you held yours even closer. It’s time to let go and share.

Until Next Time, Keeping on Typing…

 

 

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What is Your Writing Plan? #MondayBlogs

I like to think that I am a disciplined writer. I have to be. No one else is going to write the books that are in my head. I can be better at my writing schedule. I know I can be better at sitting down and getting words on the page. I know this because I use to be able to sit down for hours and fill up the pages. I didn’t matter how many distractions that came with the day, I would sit at my desk and write. Now, I seem to struggle to get to the page. I long to write and my little girl within me cries out ‘I want to write!’ and so do I. Then something happens and a half hour goes by of doing this or that. I find myself being disappointed that I wasted time on a task rather than writing. I know we all struggle at times to get here to the page and I’m here to guide you back to the page at your own pace. I am taking my own advice as well.

I recently attended a workshop hosted by Darcy Burke, USA Today’s Bestseller author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. She is successful in her writing life but it takes time. She spoke to us about how to manage our author careers and I left the workshop learning more about my writing life and I felt rejuvenated. A few of the tips she shared were great topics that created great conversations throughout the workshop. The first topic was to have a business plan.

Have a business plan? Yikes. Darcy admitted she doesn’t really have a plan per say, but she has a team to help her with her writing plan. She shared that it’s good to have a goal(s) to work towards. There was a woman in the workshop who shared her business plan. What it was going to take for her to leave her current full-time job to move into a full-time writing career. I never thought of it that way. I was still thinking like I was twelve years old and said I wanted to write books for a living. I never defined what that would actually look like as I got older. Then all of a sudden as I listened to Darcy, I saw a ring that she was wearing. It triggered a memory about friend from university whose grandmother who bought herself an emerald ring as a present to herself after selling a certain amount of books. How did I forget that?! She continued to buy herself presents after selling a certain amount of books. That’s what she wanted to do with her money and that’s fine. What I want to do is write books, sell those books to make money to write more books, run writing retreats, work on buying our first home where we want to create a farm to grow food for not only ourselves but for people in the community. To provide good food for people to buy and to nourish their bodies, minds, and souls.

I think I have my business plan. With a few tweaks yet, but I’m on the right track. I am truly grateful for attending this workshop and growing my writing community. I am grateful for being here on the page and sharing with you.

Do you have a business plan for your writing career? What tips do you have that help you be a better writer? I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

My Writing Community #MondayBlogs

Do you have a writing community? Do you spend time and connect with other writers? I do. I have to. It’s healthy to connect with like-minded people. I have this feeling of needing to connecting with other writers, other creative beings that are here for a reason. To create and share.

Recently a friend of mine has brought a few of us writers together to meet once a month. We meet at Drum Roasters Cafe in Cobble Hill, BC a middle ground for most of us.  A few of us live in Victoria, a few people live in Nanaimo and some people live a little in-between. We meet because we have connected over the years at different writing events and retreats. We connect because we all have something in common. We love the creative process. We love to share stories. We love the magic of words.

This weekend when we met, we talked about a variety of topics. Book covers, writing gossip, podcasts (ones we listen to and ones we want to create), author events, struggles, joys, and routines. When I shared my routine or what my routine looked like, I was happy to know that everyone else had ever flowing routines. Not one of us has the same rituals or maintains the routine day after day. Why? Because creativity does not fit in some type of box that this is how to write. There is no checklist that tells us how to be a writer or how or when to write. I referred to Dani Shapiro’s, Still Writing about our a writers day which we all related to but we all have different versions of the day.

We writers shape our own days. We sit at our desks in our pajamas. We putter around empty houses, watering plants, making stews in the slow cooker, staring out the window, and we call it “working.” We close our doors when our husbands or wives or kids are downstairs watching TV. Shhhh, I’m working! And at the same time, often we don’t have anything to show for it. We have no guarantee that what we’re doing will amount to anything resembling art. ~ Dani Shaprio

One of the writers during our coffee date said she doesn’t write for money-making purposes, (though she admits it would be nice), she writes for the exposer. She writes to share the story. Yes! Exactly how I feel. Yes, it is nice if we make some money for the stories we share, but ultimately I write to share a story that I hope engages the reader.

I left the coffee date filled with inspiration and encouragement. I was ready to get back to the page and keep writing.

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing…

 

 

Are you Comfortable with Solitude?

Has a book ever presented itself to you? When you least expect it someone lends you a book because it reminded them of you, or they say, “I think you might like this book.” I’ve had many booked show up this way. One being The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. A friend of mine left it on a bench in the meditation room of a meditation retreat center I use to manage. I didn’t read the book right away. I was struggling with my writing and the balance of running a thirty room resort – there was a lot of responsibility on my plate and I “thought” I didn’t have time to write. Was the ego ever wrong on this thought. I worked through Julia’s creative journey book and somewhere between the pages and meditation a light switch was turned back on. I have always been a creative being, I just forgot for a moment. The Artist’s Way helped me get back on my creative journey path.

Over the years other wonderful writing books have been shared with me and most recently, Still Writing by Dani Shaprio has made its way to the pile of must-reads in my writing room. I bought this book a few weeks ago. I was standing in the writing reference section of Russel Books in Victoria, BC and I saw the title of the book, opened to the first few pages and read that she was an only child. Instant connecting, I bought the book and didn’t look at it again until recently. I knew the book was here to tell me or remind me of something. Books do that. Someone else has gone through what I’m going through, it’s nice to have that connection to know you’re not the only one.

We have to learn to be kind to ourselves. What we’re doing isn’t easy. We have chosen to spend the better part of our lives in solitude, wrestling with our deepest thoughts and obsessions and concerns. We unleash the beast of memory; we peer into Pandora’s box. We do all this in the spirit of faith and exploration, with no guarantee that we will produce will be worthwhile. ~ Dani Shapiro

I am very comfortable with spending 99.9% of my time in solitude. I like my own company, I like where my imagination goes when I have time to myself. The .01% of me does need some human interaction and get out of the house to feel the warm sun on my face.

Normally I would read a book from start to finish, but I’m flipping through the book and stop when a word or sentence grabs me in. I am breaking the rules to reading, I’m diving into the endless waters to see what I can find.

Remember, as you begin, that you are in a remote and exotic place – the literary equivalent of far eastern Bhutan. It’s a place where no one can find you. Where anything is possible. ~ Dani Shapiro

My creative being is jumping for joy. I’m filled with inspiration as Shapiro shares her writing life. This is what I’ve wanted to do ever since I can remember. In a way, I am sharing my writing life with you. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time alone.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

The Big Question for Writers – well one of them…

What if? A question that many storytellers ask themselves. What if a kid won a pie eating contest and then started a chain of puking from all the contestants and spectators? What a great question from Stephen King, in Stand By Me. Great Book, wonderful movie. Did Stephen King have any fear when writing the story of four boys on a journey to look for a dead body? Or about a serial killing clown living in the sewer? Tim Curry as Pennywise, who else couldn’ve been this insatiable nightmare? I couldn’t sleep for many nights because of this clown. In my opinion, this was and is a great story by an extraordinary storyteller.

I’ve been rereading The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. I know I needed a bit of a kick in the ass with my writing routine. I slipped back onto the sofa and got too comfortable watching Season 3 of Billions. The drama sucked me in and then I questions why I was so aggravated by the littlest things. Oh yeah, that’s right, I haven’t been writing whispers my artist within. She speaks the truth that I need to hear. My artist within is fighting against resistance and I am witnessing the battle of a lifetime. But I know fear is good. It leads to anger which is fuel to get my butt off the sofa to get to the page. This is why I am here right now. I had a day off and I spent most of the morning working on my manuscript, but I “thought” I needed a break. That break turned into a half hour of watching mindless drivel on Netflix. The fear of this being how I live my life moved me back to my writing room.

Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it…So if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows what you have to do. ~ Steven Pressfield

I am not afraid of the work or the calling of creativity. I am afraid of not doing the work or working with creativity. This is why we are here together. To share our joys and tribulations about this great creative life we have been living. I am so excited to be here on the page and the only fear I have is walking away from this creative life. So I will keep writing and share the journey here with you.

So, what if a young writer knew they were born to write and had many stories to share but they never wrote?

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

The R-Word

This week I’ve changed my schedule at the hotel life as we are training a new manager. My assistant and I are sharing the training schedule. I am very grateful to be able to have a flexible schedule and with my extra time in the mornings, I planned to sit down and get some writing done. I thought I would start a blog post to get my fingers tapping on the keyboard. I thought about my recent post about resistance and I’m interested in Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art. I was sloth like to get to the page this morning, but once I started I felt better. Before that resistance was whispering ways to avoid doing any writing before I headed to the hotel life. When resistance is whispering in my ear so is my true self, the part of me that knows my passion is to be right here on the page. My little cheerleader is calling out to me as I am calling out to creativity.

Look in your heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. ~ Steven Pressfield

Do you hear your still voice? Does it call out to you as it calls out to me? I imagine what my voice looks like in this scenario. I see a hand reaching out from the darkness, and a voice crying out, like the princess from The Never Ending Story;  Marion Ann, don’t stop, keep writing, plllllllllllease keep writing… Sometimes I get shivers up and down my neck as I know this is true. My true self is desperately calling out and becoming louder and louder over the voice of resistance.

I will continue to reread The War of Art to remember that resistance is sneaky and it can slip in without any notice. I am truly grateful to be aware of the nagging feeling that something is missing. Thank goodness creativity never went away thought resistance was certain it had. See, that R-word can blind us with self-doubt and I’m here to let you know I’m onto the ego and resistance and they don’t’ stand a chance!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Why Do We Resist?

After I hit publish on last weeks post about barely surviving the A to Z Blogging Challenge I wondered if I was being fully honest. I was truthful but what I wasn’t doing was really diving in deep with the rest of my feelings about the challenge and what journey it took me on. The path was sometimes joyful but other times it was a dark path of resistance.

I have recently bought a copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, to have on my bookshelf. I’m sure the library was ready to cut me off from renewing it again and really a book like this needs to be accessible at any given moment when you need a little reminder or two. I love all the writing reference books I have collected over the years and I’m happy that Mr. Pressfield has joined my collection. If you haven’t read The War of Art, I highly recommend it. The first part of the book is all about the big R word ~ Resistance. One of the many underlined quotes I will share with you sums up the month of April and how I blindly walked away from my Work In Progress to join my ego on another journey.

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify, seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form if that’s what it takes to deceive you. It will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man. Resistance has no conscience. It will please anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit. ~ Steven Pressfield

I can say the same thing about ego and really ego is resistance. It puts up a fight and tells you a whole lot of crap to get what it wants. My ego is on a major time out at the moment. I have been meditating a lot since the A to Z challenge wondering how I could do this challenge and stay true to my work in progress? I see other authors multi-tasking their writing projects or are the lying and struggling just as easily? How can one author have two or three projects on the go and then decide, oh I think I’ll do this month-long blogging challenge?! Yes, we prepare for it maybe a few months or weeks before the challenge begins. I wrote most of my posts a few weeks before and scheduled them on the right dates so I didn’t have to think about it. But I did think about the posts. Where they good enough? Where they long enough? Too short? Too Long? Enough content to be interesting? So many questions came to me during the month that I ended up tweaking some of the posts that led me down another path of resistance. A new idea for a story came to me – really!?!

Halfway through April, I realized that I did very little work on my WIP and I was angry with myself. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about my lack of productivity, or that all I wanted to do was go to bed and hide under the covers until the month was over. Wow, resistance really does bully you into your self-sabotaging old self at times. I witnessed all of this and I had to put a stop to the self-doubter. The ego had to be dealt with. So instead of getting upset with the new idea that came to me, I sat down and wrote the idea down, I spent some time with the new characters and their story and once I put it down on paper I felt better. I was able to go back to my WIP and really dive into the chapters that I needed revisions that I seemed to be resisting. Now, I am almost finished revising the last chapters and ready for the next step.

Do you feel resistance at times with your writing? What does it show up as? How do you take on resistance and put in the corner for a timeout? I always love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…