NaNoWhatNow?

Whether you reached your November goals or not, the most important things that NaNoWriMo provides is writing on a daily basis. The gift that has been given to me over the years has been creating a writing habit. It’s important to carve out time for your writing life. I insist on making creativity my number one priority.

Why NaNo? I have been able to sit down and write for long periods of time for many years, however, I would get myself into a rut where I wasn’t inspired with my story any longer or I didn’t know what to do next after I came close to finishing a story. I followed my ego’s old behavior of thinking. There will be more time to work on this later. Take a break. The story isn’t going anywhere, let’s make up a new story. The ego and I had many debates over the years and sometimes I gave in and left a story unfinished.

When I found out about NaNoWriMo I was determined to finish a novel or at least hit the goal of 50,000 words. I wanted to prove to myself and shut the ego down on knowing I was able to finish a project. My first NaNo challenge I finished the story and two years later I self-published my NaNo project. Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. What did the ego have to say? Nothing. I stepped up to the challenge and worked my way through the month of November and filled the pages with my experiences of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I felt alive as I shared some of my intimate and humbling moments. Now, I can’t go back. I know how it feels to be in my truth. I know how it feels when creativity takes over, I step out-of-the-way and go with the flow. After hard work and love of what you are writing a book is created. That I call beautiful magic.

Eighty percent of success is showing up. ~Woody Allen

Now that NaNo2018 is over what is next? For me, I will keep writing. I have about 10,000 more words to fill into my next memoir. Then the editing process begins. I am focused on moving forward and seeing how this next memoir unfolds.

If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year, please share your experiences. Did you create any new writing habits? Did you write every day? What were your goals? I love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

NaNoWrioMo Update – It’s getting real now

How is everyone doing? Anyone participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge? (write a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November). This is my fourth year that I’ve dived into this great writing adventure, and it is some kind of an adventure. This year I took the first seven days of November off from my full-time job to get a good start on my second memoir about working in luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. It is now day 18 and I’m still going strong. I’m taking the time to get the words down and I have to be honest, the words may not be good, and first drafts are just that, a draft to be massaged and shaped into what you know it will be.

I’m also participating in an Instagram photo challenge with a NaNoWrioMo theme, actually, it’s focused on memoirs. A great challenge for me. One of my favorites prompts during this week: Who didn’t believe you? Do you write for fun or hope to publish. Great questions to spark the memory.

1. Who didn’t believe you?
I would have to say that everyone I ever told I was going to write books believed me because I believed me. Yes, there were times self-doubt and ego hung heavy over my head, but I stepped pasted those dark times and kept writing. I believed in myself and creativity to keep writing because I have stories to share that creativity what to share through me.

2. Do you write for fun or do you hope to publish?
How fitting to be paired up with the first question.
I always wanted to publish my work. I didn’t mind if only knew person read my work but I saw my book on the bookshelves and now they sit on a local bookstore waiting to be read. I’ve #selfpublished my debut memoir in September and over 100 people have bought and read my book. Thank you! What a blessing!

I will continue to write and publish my work. I believe that when we share we contribute for a reason. We share to say we are not alone. We are not going through the joys or sorrows alone. We can celebrate and heal together. This is how we connect and grow.

Do you have a story to share about who may not have believed in your writing? Do you write for fun or hope to publish or are you already published? I love hearing from you all.


Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever wonder what it was like to work for a luxury hotel? My hospitality life started in a beautiful hotel and resort in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my journey working for a luxury hotel. I knew my life was about to change when I had to share a staff accommodations room with three other girls. Talk about a reality check for this only child.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

How Does Your Memory Help Your Writing?

We are half way through NaNoWriMo and I’m feeling good about my progress. I hit the 20K mark on Saturday evening and I’m on pace for the goal of 50K by the end of November. I may go over the 50K but that’s okay, it’s all about the writing at the moment.

I am also participating in an Instagram photo challenge, NaNoMemoir, and NaNothatWriMo. Both hosts have created daily write prompts that have sparked my imagination and memory. I’m also entering the world of Instagram Stories, by using videos to introduce my latest posts. I am trying new things and having fun. On day 10 the questions asked triggered more than a memory. They sparked the pure joy of being in the moment.

Here is my post that I shared:

Day 10 #nanowrimo questions of the day:
* What smells do you remember?
* Writing block busters
💫
This picture is of my wonderful grandmother Laura Berry. I share her name as my middle name. What I have a middle name too?! I thought Ann was your middle name? Lol, I have to have fun about my name.
I remember walking into my #grandparents farm and the smell of baking pies fills my memory. Also, greasy, spattering bacon in a cast iron pan. Oh man do I ever smell these two #delicious smells as I#write.

I loved watching my grandmother dance around the kitchen creating #magic from flour, butter, apples and other yummy berries that came from their berry bushes.
I loved laying in my bed on Sunday mornings as my grandmother would start frying bacon. The smell lingered through the heat ducts and woke my nose up to get me out of bed and down to the kitchen. What a great way to wake up and spend time with family.
💫
Writing block busters: I write every day and even if it is only my morning pages I believe if I am writing every day then there is no room for a block. I may not write for one or two days due to my #hotellife commitments, but as long as I have written my morning pages, I am good to go.

I loved these two questions of the day. I could write more about my grandmother and the Berry Farm. Maybe I will start a memoir from my times on the farm. I am so #grateful for these amazing experiences to share with you.
💫
Happy writing!

What smells do you remember? Any writing block busters you can share with us? I love hearing from you all.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Quotes to Survive NaNoWriMo #MondBlogs

It’s is NaNoWriMo season. For the month of November, I will be writing to meet my goal of 50,000 words or even more to complete my second memoir. I am sharing a few of my favorite quotes that I have on as my background screen on my laptop and on vision boards. I hope they inspire you and your writing journey as much as they do mine.

Happy Writing!

As a memoir writer, Natalie Golderg’s quote hits me to the core. There is no hiding behind a memoir. I am going deeper each time I am on the page.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked Kitchen Confidential and the Grand Budapest Hotel, you will enjoy this eye-opening life experience of one employee’s journey of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

My debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my journey working for a luxury hotel. I knew my life was about to change when I was faced with a black bear in our staff accommodations.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

Vacation Adventures

Time for a vacation. I’m taking time away from the hotel life to spend with my family in Nova Scotia. I will be working but I don’t consider it “work”. Writing for me is not work, it is my passion. I will be preparing for NaNoWriMo and then on November 1st, I will begin the writing adventure of writing a novel of 50,000 words in one month. I should also clarify that the hotel life is not per se, work, it’s part of my life. I enjoy what I do at the hotel and there are days that it doesn’t feel like a job. I feel like I do when I’m writing. I’m going with the flow.

For now, I am packing my suitcase and trying to figure out which books will be in my carry on along with my laptop and earbuds. I tend to over pack my carry-on when I know at some point I will take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief and relaxation and fall asleep to the white noise of whatever movie I choose on the airplane. I love to travel and I go with the flow.

I will be travel solo this trip. My husband visited his family in New Brunswick at the end of August, and we usually take a trip to the east coast together every three or four years. It’s nice to connect with family as a couple, but we both know we have our own little family quirks and even after 15 years together we still don’t get our families inside jokes and isms and I don’t expect my husband to understand when at times I may not quite understand my family. I love them and that’s all that matters. We go with the flow.

This trip I will be spending time with my dearest friend of over thirty years. We met when we were six. We may have moved away from one another, but it’s like not one moment of time has passed when we get together. We are like Anne of Green Gables and Diana, we just get one another. I am looking forward to connecting with family and friends. I crave spending time with family and friends. I need them. They need me. We are not only connected by blood, but by spirit and energy. We are in each other lives for a reason. We all go with the flow.

 

I’m in the flow at the moment and it feels good. Every step I’m taking feels natural. It feels like I’m in the zone, very much like when I am writing. When I am here on the page, sharing, letting go and going with the flow.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

NaNoWriMo Adventures

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. NaNo what? It is a writing challenge for the month of November where you write a 50K novel in one month. There is a whole community of writers who commit to this creative adventure. We connect by writing forms within the NaNoWriMo website and Facebook groups. This is a great way to connect with other writers. We help each other by words of encouragement, sharing about our progress, there are laughs, tears, and great energy.

What Kind of NaNo Writer are you?

In the past, I have been a full-on rebel NaNo writer. I didn’t really plan. I had an idea and went with the flow. I knew other writers were planning with outlines for their stories. I was sitting down and putting words on the page and thought I would edit at a later time because the goal was to write 50,000 words in a month. Then last year I used NaNo to shape my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. I made an effort to plan what I was going to work on and by the end of November I had my draft completed and was actively looking for an editor by January and I self-published on September 15, 2018. What a journey!

What’s Next?

This year I’m going to be a bit more active in the NaNo adventures. I am part of a local NaNo group where we will meet up every Monday in November. We will write and share our progress. We had our kick-off event this week and I’m excited to cheer everyone on.                                                                                                                This year, I am planning to write the second memoir of my trilogy hotel memoirs. I have loosely outlined with the stories to share and that has made a big difference for me. I look at the list now and I’m still happy with what I want to focus on. I know if I am prepared that it will be a lot easier to execute throughout the month of November. I am very grateful for finding NaNoWriMo and the community that I am involved with.

Have you participated in any writing challenges/contests? What has been your experience? Any recommendations?

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies? Find out in my debut memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors,~ The Summers, how I survived three summers of working atop a mountain.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Words of Wisdom #Monday Blogs

Mary shares her thoughts on trying and learning. Thank you, Jo-Ann, for sharing.

Jo-Ann Carson

Have I told you how much I love podcasting lately? Well, I’ll say it again. I love being a podcast host.

I love interviewing people and talking with them about writing, their passions …  their lives. People always surprise me. I’m humbled that they let me into their lives.

Mary's photo 300dpiThis week I interviewed Mary Buckham. The episode won’t go live until December, but I couldn’t wait to talk about it, at least a little part of it. One of her statements that blew me away was about making mistakes.

I always say if you fall down, you get back up again. You know the Chinese proverb that if you get up one more time than you fail, you succeed.  Don’t we all say: If  you try something and you fail, you try again. At least that’s what I always said.

Mary stopped me, “No, no, no,” she said. “You don’t…

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For the Love of Hospitality ~ Or Not

Working for a luxury hotel in the Canadian Rockies was a blessing. I learned a lot about hospitality. At the time I didn’t know it, but I was learning how to become a better leader. I didn’t know I would be where I am today, I never thought I would be a manager of a front desk or even working within the HR field. I am very grateful for all the opportunities that were provided along the way. Yet, there were certain tasks I didn’t like and during my time at the Lake, I dreaded the end of night duties. At one time servers we able to pick their end of night duty so the easiest ones went right away, like making roll-ups. Then there was the buffet line.

The race to the end of night duties was on from the start of the evening. Or I felt it was. Once my first table was seated I watched the clock.  I paced my tables accordingly. I wanted to finish my evening by a 9 or 9:30 pm so that I could avoid setting up one of the two buffet lines. Moving tables and portable hot buffet tables was something I actually loathed, only because they were located in awkward storage areas not close to the dining room. For a 500 plus hotel, you would think there would be enough storage. Sadly, not. Every inch of the hotel was mostly for guests. Employees had to dance around the guest areas to make the hotel run seamlessly. This was a well-practiced art form, but not the most favorable.

Think of pushing and pulling a family of 12 size table made out of stainless steel with sharp edges and wobbly legs with small tricycle wheels. No fun at all. Why I didn’t like this duty. I did it over three nights a week out of a five or six work week. One of the nights would be for a boyfriend who charmed his way into my heart and I would do anything for him. Even if it meant setting up the bloody buffet line on top of my own duty. Some nights I ended up setting up both buffet lines.  I know, I know. I did it to myself.

 

I am so grateful for my experiences but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like certain areas of my job. Even today there are areas of my positions I don’t care for. Don’t get me wrong I love my job. I really do and I’m not just saying that. As an HR associate, I loved coaching people, helping them further their goals and passions. As a guest services manager, I love connecting with guests, helping them have a great experience. Then there are hard days when I have had conversations with employees that don’t go over all that well. Or a guest yell at me because I’m the manager and they have to tell me how awful their stay was. These days help me grow as a person and a professional. I learn a little more about human behavior and how I react to people’s reactions. I guess I learned more about myself when cursing those buffet lines over twenty years ago.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the kitchen doors of a restaurant? My debut memoir shares my experiences of working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. If you don’t want to know that your server dropped acid in the soup, then this book may not be for you…

 

 

 

 

 

BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOORS ~ THE SUMMERS is now available.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

Happy Thanksgiving

We are celebrating Thanksgiving this long weekend. Thanksgiving Day in Canada usually occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Thanksgiving has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since November 6, 1879. This year it feels a bit early but we go with the flow and celebrate!

I have worked many Thanksgiving weekends and I’ve seen and been to a lot of amazing celebrations over the years. Including my own.

Me on my grandparent’s farm

As a young girl, I loved going to my Grandparent’s Berry’s farmhouse. Especially in the fall. My senses would be sparked immediately when we walked into the kitchen and my grandmother would be puttering away baking pies while basting the turkey and mashing potatoes. In my seven-year-old eyes, I saw a  wonder-woman. Someone who could dance around the kitchen creating such magic that brought us all together at the grand dining table to enjoy the harvest of their farm. What a blessing.

When I was working in the luxury hotel in the Canadian Rockies my first Thanksgiving away from home was tough. I longed for my family. I missed the smell of the turkey lingering in the house. I wished to be sitting around in the living room watching my parents create their own magic in the kitchen.                               As I served families at the hotel I witnessed similar reactions to the food that I placed on the table. Wide-eyed and grateful for the food they were being served. A little part of me was sad for the families that choose to have someone prepare their meal instead of creating a tradition in their own homes. Then I guess I wouldn’t have a job if people didn’t take advantage of the “Thanksgiving Package” at the resort. My hotel life at the time seemed to a double edge sword.

Over the years I have been able to spend Thanksgiving with my immediate family and each time my sever year old memories are tickled. I am grateful for what I have in my life. My heart is filled with gratitude for my family and friends. This year my husband and I are spending a quiet Thanksgiving together. We are celebrating our accomplishments and goals of 2018 ~ I am so grateful for being given the talent to write and to share stories. I have written my first memoir and have self-published with the help from a dear friend. I am very blessed.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered what it may be like to work for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies? My debut memoir, BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOORS, shares what it is like to work and live atop a mountain.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU


Thank you, Wikipedia for some information needed for this blog.

For The Love of Hospitality ~ Train the Trainer

My career in hospitality was not planned however being of service is in my blood. I get overjoyed when I helped people. I tend to tear up when I get excited about assisting guests to have a great experience at the hotels I’ve worked for. My first job was working for McDonald’s and there was a rigid training program that groomed me into one of the Golden Arches employees. It was one of the best training programs I’ve been through. I expected a similar program with a luxury hotel chain and there is a great training program, I just skipped the “official” first day.

When I started my bussing job over 20 years ago I was asked to help out before my first day of working at the hotel. This became the theme of my hospitality life. I portrayed I could do anything, and I could and I can. I was good with people, I took direction well because I was scared shitless to let anyone down that helped me get the job. There was also the sense of pride and loyalty of having a job in a luxury hotel was motivation. I was chosen to be part of a team who served the rich and famous, that was pretty freaking cool. Little did I know I’d be sitting here with two decades of hotel experience, a handful of heartaches and a can-do attitude that make for a great story.

When I first started in the food & beverage world, I was trained how to be a busser, then a server, then a host. I liked the progression of my career. I actually wanted to gobble up as much information I could. I wanted to grow into a supervisory role when and if an opportunity became available. I was ready to take on the world at the age of 22! Life had another plan for me before I moved forward. Lessons to learn, to accept, to learn, to accept, and repeat. If you haven’t learned the lesson presented the first time around it will keep showing up until you get it. The universe has a way to groom us in our own life lessons. Like how to train someone.

I had to take a standardized training course through the hotel chain that many organizations use to train trainers. its called Train the Trainer. When I’m talking with other hospitality colleagues I hear a similar conversation and have heard someone say, ‘when I was in train the trainer…’ so I know the course has accomplished its standards and many service colleagues share the same techniques when training new employees. What is Train the Trainer? It comes down to three simple steps.

  1. I train you on how to do a particular task.
  2. You repeat what I have shown you.
  3. You train me now on the same task.

That’s what I remember and it has been successful in my training practices over the years. The task I chose to train someone in my class was how to fold a napkin in the bird of paradise fold. It was a great learning experience and I was able to execute my training skills when training new bussers on how to fold the different napkin patterns. I now use the same techniques when training new front desk agents. There is a lot of information to learn on the front desk and it’s comforting to know that my soft skills as a manager help new colleagues feel comfortable and confident with the task at hand.

Have you taken Train the Trainer or use similar training tools where you work? How do you train for success? I hope to hear from you. Sharing helps us grow.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

I have been blessed with being in the hotel world. I’ve gained life experiences and skills that have helped me in many situations. I am as passionate about hospitality as I am with writing. I want to share a great experience and what better way is by writing about the hotel life.

My debut memoir, BEHIND THE KITCHEN DOORS ~ The Summers, is about my experiences working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. It was a great way to spend the summers and even better life experiences. I’ll never forget when our staff housing was evacuated because of a black bear.

Ebook and Print book available on AMAZON. US | CA | AU

Thank you for stopping by!