Practicing Creativity

We are in the middle of a move, well more than in the middle. We are moving next Sunday, May 28th to a new place in Oak Bay, Victoria, BC. I am sad to be leaving our current home, it’s in the heart of a unique area called Cook Street Village, an 8 minute walk to the Ocean. It is quiet, peaceful and down right fantastic for what my husband and I needed in this moment. My husband actually found our current home, he has this great talent to find what we both need with ease. It’s one of the many great things I love about him.

Our goals have shifted and our move came at the perfect time, like every manifestation, you have to be ready to receive once you put it out there to the universe that you are looking for a change and you provide some guidelines. You may not get what you first put out there, but you will get what you need.

During this transition I feel a bit in limbo. I’m not writing as much as I intended to and I feel the effects. I’m a bit more snappy with people when normally I’m pretty calm and like a duck let the water roll off my back. Somewhere the ego wiggled its way in as I have put creativity on the side lines for a brief moment; Seriously only a day or two I haven’t been with my writing as much as I usually am and bam, the ego finds its way in and I am reminded everything happens for a reason. I look around my writing room and notice the books that I have left out for comfort as we pack up our home. I pick up Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones and flip through and stop at a page that I have underlined and probably have used in a previous blog post.

Writing as a Practice; Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It’ll never happens, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. That’s how writing is, too. Once you’re deep into it, you wonder what took you so long to finally settle down at the desk. Through practice you actually do get better. You learn your deep self more and not give in to your voice that wants to avoid writing. 

Thank you Natalie. I needed that reminder. Not that I don’t know this very concept of practicing your craft to enhance your skill levels. I am also a runner and when I was training for my first marathon there was training, essentially a lot of practice that made it easier each day to get one more kilometer in than the day before. When I sit down to write my true self and the practice of being here on the pages takes over. I am the vessel of creativity to share a story.

I am the only one who can change my habits and I am aware that the practice of writing every day, beyond my morning pages, is essential to the craft, to creativity. Do you have a daily practice of writing? How do you get yourself to the page each day? Is it for ten minutes, a half hour, or half a day? Today, I’m writing for the morning and then spending time with my husband, it is the Victoria Day, long weekend, the sun is out and it’s a perfect time to take my artists on an artist date.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Back to the Writing

A week has gone by where I wasn’t sitting with my laptop close by to make sure my A to Z challenge posts where being worked on. Making sure the pictures were set and saved for the next day and all those other little things that we writers tweak to drive ourselves to the breaking point from time to time. I feel this a good obsession.

This week I’ve been provided with new ideas, character names and a writing project that has been waiting for me to start. My life is about writing. I am writer who is a manager at a hotel where the situations on any given work day provides me with a lot of material  to draw from. Working in an industry with a lot of different around makes it easier to get to the page and put those words down. Then there are times that it’s not always that easy. I can count on many occasions when I had every intention to do some work on my writing and I end up sitting on the sofa binge watching NetFlix, or down the rabbit hole of Instagram. It amazes me how quickly an hour flies by when you are procrastinating. Then on the other hand when I’m writing and an hour goes by and it feels like a minute, that’s where I want to be, in that writing zone, in the gap of true awareness, the place that I know I need to be in. It feels like, Home.

I have been packing for our upcoming move and usually my books are the last to be put away, but this time I’ve packed up the books that I know won’t feel so desperate to be close to and keep the ones I need out within arms length. Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones is sitting on my writing desk and I stare at it, I must have kept it out for a reason. I flip quickly through the pages an there is what I need to read;

Writers end up writing about their obsessions. Things that haunt them, things they can’t forget; stories they carry in their bodies waiting to be released.

Ummm, hell yes! I am obsessed with writing about writing and the pure act of writing. When a new name for a character is revealed to me, I can feel myself becoming obsessed about them. Who are they? What do they look like? Where do they work, live. Are they in love, have they loved, are they falling in love? So many questions run through my mind all awhile I’m doing a new employee orientation at the hotel life. It haunts me that I can’t let go of this new character in my life. I’m obsessed to find out about then and how they fit into my work in progress, or are they for another writing project? They are here for a reason and I’m here to figure that out, or at least be part of the process of finding out why. I love the creative process.

What are you obsessed about? What are you carrying around that needs to be let go?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Zealous

It’s the last day of the 2017 A to Z blog challenge. I’ve had some fun with this years theme there have been some posts about writing but they are connected to my hotel life. I believe everything is connected.

When I first started to serve and became comfortable with my serving style I became a bit zealous with my guest service. I was passionate about providing good service, I didn’t want anyone to have a bad experience. There is nothing wrong with that, right? Well there can be. I fell in the trap of caring too much about the people who were sitting at my tables. At first I looked at everyone as a tip, I was working to making money to pay for university which happened for the first two summers I worked at the Luxury hotel and resort. Then after university when I was going to take time off before I decided what I was going to do next. When I started to pay more attention to the guests I was serving there was more of a connection. They gave a higher gratuity because they said I was engaging and interesting. Really? I needed to know more about how to connect with people. I decided I could be a great fine dining server and was eager to learn as much as possible.

I was the first to sign up for any new wine tastings, whiskey seminars, food knowledge, anything that could help me wow the guests, I was there. Then as I started to learn more I saw the potential of advancing to possibly a host, a supervisor and eventually a dining room manager. I was committed to this serving life now, whatever I could get my hands on I wanted to learn. I asked more questions and thought that if I could get more knowledge I could work my way up the corporate ladder.

The problem with being this committed to one thing was forgetting about the one things that actually gave me joy, not just the rush of getting a better tip, a better position in the F&B food chain. Creativity was left by the side stand where I placed my drink tray to pick up the silver water jug to make sure my guests where well taken care of. I was becoming overzealous with a job that I said I only wanted to be temporary so that I could write full-time. Now I was working full-time and writing very part-time. I had to change my way of thinking and be just as fierce with my writing as I was with the serving.

As I started to move around from property to property, gaining more and more experience, advanced in my hotel life, I’ve complained and struggled that I am working more in the hotel world than I do in my writing life. Geez, who made those decisions? That’s right, me. I then realized that the hotel life is part of my writing life and I can be just as committed to both, but lately it’s more about the writing and that’s okay – the hotel life is there to support me and maintain this beautiful creative life and for that, I am deeply grateful.

Thank you for joining me on this years A to Z blogging challenge. If you ever want to connect to talk about writing, get together to write, please drop me a line. You can find my email in Contact Me. Thank you again and I hope to see you soon.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Renee Silverman for the jumping photo

P is for Play Time

We all need play time in our life. The little girl or boy inside us is itching to have some fun. In the hotel life, especially when working at a resort where you live only steps away from the where you work, you need time off to play, let go of the stresses of work and do something that makes you smile.

When I worked for two different luxury hotel properties within the Canadian Rockies, play time was mainly skiing, hiking, white water rafting, camping, pretty much anything to get away from the hotel/resort. Guests that came to visit the luxury resorts would say ‘oh you must feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place, how can you get sick of the view, the ski hill, etc…’ Yes, I was so very fortunate to live and work in two of the most stunning areas of the Canadian Rockies, and yes, there is a but. Sometimes, you wake up at five in the morning to rush to your five thirty start to serve the very same guests you served dinner the night before. Then on your days off when you want to go for a quick hike you bump into the same guests and you are still a representative of the hotel so you can’t turn off the light switch of customer service when all you really want to do is walk by quickly, with head down so they don’t recognize you. So when it comes to play time, we would go to another small town in the Banff National Park area and go for hikes where no one else knew us.

In the winter, play time was on the ski hill, we would ski for hours, run after run, in deep powder, on top of the world with no cares and never bumping into one guest. This was pure bliss and play time for us. For me I was drawn to cross-country skiing where I could go on a trail that took me deep into the trees along Moraine Lake on moon light nights. What joy. Sure, I like the thrill of rushing down the ski hill, but I’ll take the slow lingering moments while cross-country skiing.

It’s important to give yourself some play time, give yourself a break from the routine that keeps you afloat. Get out side and have some fun!

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

M is for Moving

I’m use to moving around a lot. I’m use to people coming and going in my life. This made it easy for me to deal with the ever revolving door of people who I have dealt with and deal with in the hotel life. Moving around has made it easy to pick up and transfer to another hotel within the hotel chain I use to work for. It made it easy for me to move from hotel to hotel as I broadened my experiences with in the hospitality world.

My mother moved me around a lot when I was younger. I’m an only child, so I find myself saying, me or I a lot. My dad was in the military and you would think we moved around because of his career choice, but that was not the case. I love my mother, however she was easily annoyed by people, once we moved from one great townhouse to another because she didn’t like living on the end unit closest to the street, it was too noisy for her. This is what I remember, it could have been for a completely different reason, but in this moment I’ll keep that memory in the filing cabinet to be reviewed at a later time.

Working for a luxury hotel chain has its perks, one of them being able to transfer to another hotel within the chain. I was very fortunate to experience four different properties in a short ten years. When I was ready to leave Lake Louise, I transferred to Jasper, AB, that is where my hotel career started to really develop. I was provided with so many opportunities. I look back and count every lucky star.

I left Jasper to try my hand in the big city, Calgary. Not only did I move locations, but I changed departments, I left the food and beverage world to the front office life. Serving guest wine is much different from talking to them on the phone or checking them in. I latest less than a year, but it wasn’t because I couldn’t handle the job, it was over a guy, and that is a different story to be told later. I was lucky to move back to Jasper and stayed in the front office department which gave me the experience to move to Edmonton as a Front Office Supervisor/Duty Manager. As I write these memories of my time in the Canadian Rockies and major cities in Alberta I can’t remember once thinking, what the hell am I thinking? I moved swiftly like the fresh powder on Lake Louise and the Bow River that ran through two Alberta cities. Am I still moving? Yes, I have and I will continue to move towards the next chapter in life.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

H is for Hotel Life

As I as thinking of what to write about for the letter H, I was sitting in my car on my way home from work and like most of the ideas of what to write about, appeared very clearly. Hotel life. Then I wondered if I could maintain the theme of my hotel life for rest of the A to Z challenge? Why not? I will certainly try.

The Hotel life is something I haven’t shared about too much. A part of me wants to keep that part of my life separate from my writing life, however, they are one. The hospitality business has provided me with some pretty amazing opportunities and experiences that I am so grateful for. It has provided me with many stories to write (which are currently on note cards waiting to be written). The ideas and story lines come from a simple conversation with a guest or colleague. Some ideas pop into my head while I’ve worked on a buffet, replenishing scrambled eggs for another tor of fifty to heard through or sitting in the staff pub having a few pint with friends to blow off steam from a busy night in the dinner room or a busy check in at the front desk and dealing with angry guests who have nothing better to do but blame you for their poor choices.

The Hotel life moved me from Nova Scotia to Alberta and now Vancouver Island, I have seen and done some pretty incredible things and some not so amazing moments. I have lived in the Canadian Rockies working for Canadian Pacific and now re-branded Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.  have worked for Relais & Chateau Resorts and Best Western in Tofino, BC, then I left the corporate hotel world to independently owned and operated hotels that have pushed me even further in my personal and professional growth.

The main theme of every hotel I’ve worked at and every hotel is the same. Hospitality: the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Being in customer service is hard work. You have to have your light switch always on to provide great service to people all the time. If you have a bad day at home you can’t bring that fight you had with our spouse, family or dog, it has to stay in the back while you smile and be friendly to the guests in front of you. Being part of a guests great experience is rewarding and fulfilling as any job that you enjoy. Like anything, the Hotel life has its ups and downs and I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t accept the job offer that one day to work in my first hotel and resort.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

G is for Gratitude

I am having a moment where I can’t think of something different to write about for the letter G. The top words I think of are:

  • Golf (I wrote about gold in last years A to Z challenge)
  • Gratitude
  • Greatness (my husband called this out when I asked him what comes to mind for the letter G. Not sure if he was talking about himself, haha)
  • Gravy (my husband again) and then I said while laughing out loud:
  • Good Gravy
  • Goodness
  • Going (only because we are packing as we are moving in a month and I’m happy to going to our place)
  • Green (I’m starting at my green fountain pen on my desk)

As you can see I’m at a loss at the moment. I just got home from a long day at the hotel life and what comes to mind about this blog challenge at the moment is, good gawd what have I gotten myself into? There are three g words there. I left work after a nine-hour day which I didn’t plan on, but when you are a manager and something goes wrong, you are the one to deal with it, then I got home and made dinner (to my husbands credit he started the process which is helpful), and the days events are still racing through my mind as I’m dicing a red pepper for the Farro salad for dinner. The word that comes to mind is Gratitude.

I am so grateful and full of gratitude for this very moment, to be right here on the page with you. I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity that is being provided to maintain this beautiful creative life that is fully intended. I am grateful to have fun with these blogs. I realize this is a pretty much a personal blog today and that’s okay because I’m doing what I need to be doing. Writing. I think I will take the letter H and write a bit more about the Hotel life.

If you are part of the A to Z blogging challenge, how is it going? Are you stuck on a letter? Do you prewrite your posts or do you write them the date of? I would love to hear from you.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .