What Does a Writer Do on Vacation?

Road trips are one of my favorite ways to travel. My husband and I have been on many road trip adventures over the years and as a young girl, my family would take to the open road on our family vacations. We would visit my Grandparents in Ontario. We drove from Nova Scotia and we would take two days to travel, my father would drive through the US, sometimes it was quicker, but for me it was about seeing new sights, stay in different hotels and explore new neighborhoods. I didn’t know it then, but I was being given an education of life on the road, and I loved it!

There is something about sitting in a car or bus traveling long distances to get to a destination that stirs up my imagination. What else does one do when in a car for long periods of time but think of stories that take you away to another world. My road trip adventures as a child were way before the smartphone or built-in iPads to preoccupy my brain while parents sit silently up front. The things that kept me busy were a stack of books that I would devour as the miles passed by. My imagination was on overload when I put my headphones on to my yellow Sony Walkman where Joey Joe sang, Please don’t go Girl, over and over again because I wanted to be that girl the New Kids on the Block sang about. I use to daydream that I was the girl he spotted in the crowd, pulled me on stage, kissed me and we fell in love. I was a hopeless romantic at a very early age.

I won’t lie, over the years as I would drive alone on my own adventures, (I was maybe 17 or 18) I would daydream up more adventures with other celebrities. I use to play out a reunion of St. Elmo’s Fire cast as the daughter of Kevin and Leslie who now was attending Georgetown University. I would carry these ideas into my late twenties but with different characters and situations.

This vacation was with my husband and my in-laws. We travel very well together. This road trip involved a ferry from Vancouver Island to Port Angeles then making our way to Seaside, Oregon. After the hour and a half ferry ride, it was about a five and half hour drive to Seaside. The trip was lovely, the fall colors of deep reds and light yellows were making an appearance on sporadic trees. Once we made it close to the Ocean, I felt a sense of calmness and was happy to be back in the Pacific North West.

What day-dreams tickled my imagination? I have been reading Stephen King’s, 11/22/63 and not to give the book away, my thoughts were on time travel. As we drove through sections of clouds, creativity sparked up with some interesting ideas. Ideas that I let sit idle for a few days. I have another project that I am working on and didn’t want to start something else, but sometimes creativity takes over and you go with the flow.

Each day in Seaside we would go on daily adventures to Cannon Beach, Tillamook and other national parks to see the lush rain-forest areas. With every new adventure my imagination was turned on and I took notes on ideas, phrases or comments a possible character was sharing with me. I was very aware.

What did I learn on this road trip? It was more like a very nice reminder that my imagination is never turned off. I’m very content to sit in the car and daydream, I’m comfortable with sitting idle because the imagination needs room to explore and the story needs time to develop. For this I am grateful.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

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Gratitude & Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving my Canadian Friends. I love the fall, I do love my flip-flops and the warm sun but there is something about the crisp fall mornings and my favorite fuzzy sweaters that fills me with comfort and joy. I started this blog as a follow-up to my vow to break up the sofa and then I realized it was Thanksgiving and I should be a bit more grateful and write about my Thanks. However, I do want to share my love affair with the comfy Chesterfield.

Like a bad break up, my separation with the sofa is not going well. There are days when we get back from our after dinner walk and our of habit I head to the sofa and sit down and put my feet up.  There are days where I don’t go near the sofa and those days are getting to be more and more, but the days that I do retreat back I feel guilty. I know it’s not good for me to sit around not writing. I know sitting in front f the TV watching yet another Netflix Original or the latest Mr. Mercedes episode is going to waste the time away from my writing room. So why do it? What is so appealing about the sofa? For the creative writer in me, nothing. Maybe there is some story waiting to be told while I sit around on the sofa, honestly, I’m on the sofa now typing away.

I’m thankful for the awareness that I am having troubles stepping away from a lifetime relationship. I wrote a poetry book about my Nanny and Bumpy (my maternal grandparents) and called it On The Couch because every picture I had of them was on a couch at a family gathering. I gravitated to the sofa as an only child – I didn’t have to share with a sibling and when I did have to sit next to someone let’s just say I had trouble sharing my space.

Robie & Marion Pierce

I would sit with my grandparents on the sofa and always felt safe. Maybe that’s why I have trouble walking away. Maybe I’m looking for that nostalgic feeling. I love my grandparents, and though they have passed they are always right here with me. Maybe, I have to realize that they are with me everywhere and not just on the sofa. The ego is a funny thing, even when you know that something is not the best for you, what do you end up doing? You got it, go running to the couch and snuggling up in an afghan on a crisp fall morning. I will add my laptop and keep writing, best of both worlds. This is how I will begin my next journey of leaving the sofa. This is how I will grow and capture those familiar blissful moments anywhere I go. For this I am grateful.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

How Can You Tell If You’re In Limbo? #MondayBlog

It has been a week since the 3-day novel contest and I have the feeling of being in limbo. I’m not quite in the reality of the world I left behind as I entered my writing room for three days over the labor day weekend. I went into the contest with a goal, to finish the edits of my current work in progress. I felt like I needed to push myself with the last of the revisions so that I can move forward with the next steps of my book. To publish and to share with all of you.

Limbo: a state of uncertainty.                                                                                                                 an intermediate or transitional place or state.

I was searching for clues this week to get myself out of this feeling of uncertainty. Then I realized it’s not uncertainty that I am feeling. I am restless for the next step. I jumped into the revisions and focused on taking risks with my work that I forgot all about from the first memoir I completed. I was still holding back, I was keeping the story at an arm’s length, even though I thought I was not. I have shared details about my time living in resort towns throughout the years but with caution. I didn’t want anyone to think less of me for the choices I made. You know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is putting the words on the page and letting go of the fears and that my friends is a scary process, but it has to be done. There is no hiding in a memoir.

The is no hiding in a memoir

There were moments during the writing contest that I walked circles in my writing room, pacing back and forth, with the knowledge of great frustration but also an overwhelming sense of joy that I was on the right path. Somewhere I kicked the Ego to the corner and my true-self was taking over and letting it all hang out there. All the dirty laundry and adventures that were experienced during this time in the Canadian Rockies. I spent a decade of my life working through my adolescent ailments in resort towns that brought more heartache than joy at times, but also provided me with what was exactly needed in those moments. For this, I am truly grateful.

Now you must be thinking, come on, when can we read these adventures you have been talking about? Soon. I promise. If you sign up for my Newsletter I will send you advanced chapters to read before I start the publishing journey. I will also send you a little gift of thanks because you’re awesome!

I appreciate your support and stopping by to read about my writing journey. I believe a sharing in me is a sharing in you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing. . . .

The 3-Day Novel Contest Journey

What is the 3-day novel contest? Basically writing a novel in three days. Simple. Right? Some of you maybe saying, no way. Some of you are getting that jittery exciting tickle deep in your stomach that might feel like nausea but it’s not, it’s the pure awareness of knowing you want to leap onto the page and write, write, write!

My first attempt at the 3-day novel contest was very similar to this decisions. I registered a week before the event and had no idea what I was going to write. I read how hundreds of other participants were preparing their outlines weeks even months prior. They had their shopping lists done for their meals, snacks, and beverages so there was no time wasted on anything. I gave myself a week to get my act together. I picked up ingredients for easy to prepare dinners, stocked up on tea, coffee, and wine for those late nights where I would need a jolt of Pinot Noir inspiration or relax the ego out of stressing over the word count.

The second attempt of the 3-Day Novel contest, I started with one idea that I actually outlined a few weeks prior and was proud that I was more prepared than my first year. After 12 hours of writing and a few hours of sleep I had a different idea pop into my head and started over. Yikes! But, I finished that novel, all 47,654 words of a thriller/drama/romance that I will one day go back and edit and give the attention it deserves.

This year? Third times a charm, right? I decided about a month ago I would register for the contest, but I wasn’t going to write something new. I know, I’m a rebel. I planned on taking the 3 days to focus on finishing the memoir I’ve been working on. It is finished but now it needs revisions and more of my attention. Taking time off from work to dive in deep to the pages was my intention. Then I started to get ready for work on Friday afternoon and I felt like I was missing something like I’ve been away from creating anything new. All the ideas that are waiting to be written are coming to the fore front. I think this is ego and wanting to not work on what I know needs to be completed. The ego and I have been doing this dance for a while and it’s my turn to take the lead.

But I wondered why now? Why this sense of writing something new when deep down I know I want to finish my memoir that I’ve been working on for far too many years now. As I write this I think, Yes, stick to your plan and edit that memoir, move forward, you know this plan is good, so get to it! I think I have answered my own question. The one thing I know to be true, more like a feeling, is to keep writing and work on my craft to be a bit better each day. There is a little part of me that wants to write something new, and I will, that is a promise to me and creativity.

Thank you for sticking around to read my ramblings this week. I’m learning more about my last-minute decisions regarding writing contests. I’m learning I need to finish one project and move forward. I’m aware that I need to give my attention to the stories that are waiting to be finished, one word at a time.

Until Next Time, Kep On Typing. . . .

 

 

Rethink the 9 to 5 life

I’m busy. I know, I know, no one is that ‘busy’. What I mean is I’m busy with my full-time job at the hotel. I don’t doubt that we are all busy – trying to make it through to the end of day. I can’t remember it being this busy at the hotel over the past six years that I have been working there. But, I have changed my responsibilities, I wear two hats and it is keeping me on toes.

 

 

I love my job, it provides me with what is needed to maintain and excel this creative life. I’ve been professing this gratitude statement for years because deep down I know it to be true. I wouldn’t be on this beautiful Canadian West Coast Island where I am surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and mountains. I’m happy with the rain over the heaps of snow that tend to pile up over the winter across the country.

Today, it’s Friday, I work in the afternoon. Some people who work 9-5, Monday to Friday cringe when they hear this. They tend to say, That’s terrible, I could not have weekends off. You’ve been doing this job for over twenty years, you’d think you’d get weekends off by now. Do you want to know what I think when they say stuff like this to me? I’d like to keep it PG here, but the f-bombs go off in my head as I smile politely and tell them it’s okay, it’s part of the job and I like working Friday nights. I get to people watch and you know I love to people watch – I’ve seen and heard some interesting conversations that have triggered my creative juices and I have another story swirling around to be written. Thank you. I also get a lot more work done than on a Tuesday afternoon when stuff is hitting the fan; like the hot tub going down or an employee calls in sick for the overnight shift and you are calling all the backups desperately wishing someone will be available or I’ll be the one sitting at the front desk making sure I roll the day over for the accounting team. (This hasn’t happened to me, but it has come pretty damn close over the years in different hotels I’ve worked at.)

 

The one thing the people who cringe that I don’t have weekends off are right about is I have been in the hotel business for over twenty years. That much is true. I haven’t been at this hotel for twenty years and your time served in one industry does not guarantee you weekends off. The only hotel job I ever had weekends off was when I was an administrative assistant and the office hours happen to be Monday to Friday, 8:30-5:00 pm – getting home at 5:15 pm (I lived 15 minutes away from the hotel) was so foreign to me. What do I do with myself on a Friday night when most of my friends are working at another hotel? I soon filled my weekends with what I really wanted to be doing. Writing. Spending time with other writers, attending workshops for writing, volunteering for art festivals, promoting the writing group I was a part of. It was my heaven. It was the creative life I had been visualizing myself living for a very long time. It wasn’t even me seeing myself doing this, I was living the life that I knew to be true. Does that make sense? I hope so, it sure feels like it was at that moment. I miss that work-life balance that I am currently striving to have in this moment.

 

The other time I had weekends off was when I worked at a bank before weekend hours started. This was when I briefly left the hotel life for about a year and a half. After working in a bank and then retail, I couldn’t run fast enough back to the hotel world and I never looked back. I may vent about my job, and I know I started this blog off with “I’m Busy” and I am, but I am so very grateful for this amazing opportunity that has been provided. One where I get paid to be a coach to great employees and to myself. I also get a bird’s eye view of every kind of personality and they all help add to any story I am working on, even inspire a few short stories here and there. Thank goodness for visitors and random people who walk up to the front desk and share their story.

Even if you are busy, what are you grateful for in that moment?

Until next time, keep on typing. . ..

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What Has your Writing Journey Been Like so Far?

What has your writing journey been like so far? Good question. I follow many authors on Instagram and this week a fellow writer has put together a mini writing Instagram challenge. All the questions are writing related and this particular question intrigued my creative child within.

My writing journey so far has been like a familiar but unpredictable weather system these days. Drizzly rain mixed with sun and cloud with a rainbow in the horizon. A mixed bag of emotions and events that have brought me to the page.

As long as I can remember and even deeper than that, it’s like I’ve had this past life, even lives that I can see and feel but they seem unclear at times. A life where I’ve been writing, telling stories and sharing. It seems that creativity is and always been in my veins. I cannot, not write. My imagination is a black hole, it is never-ending and swallows me whole at times. The vivid places and situations that occur in my mind baffle me at times, where did the ideas come from so quickly, so vividly that they play out like a movie?

I have never been afraid of the stories that have been and continue to be shared with. The one detail I am afraid of is that I am not sharing this talent and creativity will move on. It frightens me more that I will lose what has been graciously given to me. I have this deeply seeded knowing I should be participating like an excited cheerleader on their first game day – what gives then? It comes down to old behaviors and me, myself and the ego are in the way.

So how do I get out of my head? How do I stay on this great journey of writing? By writing, by reading about writing, by writing about writing, by surrounding myself with other writers to talk about writing and ultimately to keep writing.

My writing journey so far is mostly positive and there are some frustrating times, but as I have shared before, the only person that is stopping me from doing something is me. I choose to sit here in my beautiful writing room watching the trees sway in the breeze on this lovely Sunday evening. This is what I have to do more often. To choose writing over the sofa and Netflix. Writing over staying late a work just because I “think” I should stay for another hour over time to help out. It’s not helping anyone out when I’m pissed off because I chose to stay and would rather be home writing. A vicious cycle the ego plays over and over again.

My writing journey has provided me with beautiful places to live and experience moments that I have been able to soak in and share. Creativity has brought me across the country to live on an island and experience so many wonderful moments. Creativity has provided everything I need to excel this creative life and for this, I am truly grateful.

Now, I will ask you the same question: What has your writing journey been like so far?

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

What Does Baseball Have To Do With Writing?

Wasn’t it a few weeks ago I was saying how much I like my little writing routine which trickles into my work life? I like getting up early to write morning pages and I don’t mind going to bed early because I know I’ll be up early as sleep is important to our health. It is important for those times when you stay up all night writing.

My husband and I were on vacation last week. We went to Seattle for three baseball games, Mariners vs. Boston Red Sox. My husband and his family (minus his brother who is a Yankees fan) are Red Sox fans. When he was growing up in New Brunswick, it wasn’t anything for them to drive to Boston for a weekend to see a few games. I have known my husband for fifteen years and when the Red Sox are close to wherever we are, we are heading to the game(s). We try to go to Seattle each year to experience at least one of the games. This year we decided to go to all three games. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

Our road trip started at the Coho ferry in Victoria, BC. It is about an hour and a half to Port Angeles and then another hour and a half drive to Bremerton, where we decided to stay this trip. We have stayed in various areas of Seattle and we would have stayed in the city again, but hotel prices were a little high for us. Even as a hotelier I couldn’t justify paying $250 US each night, ouch! We paid $130 Canadian a night at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Bremerton, a four-minute walk to the ferries over to Seattle, score!

I love taking the ferry anywhere. I love being on the water, the whole experience is meditative for me. I am also able to write on the ferry without many distractions. Adam will either fall asleep or read a magazine and doze off as I concentrate on writing. There is something about travel, being on the ocean or near the ocean that gets my creative juices flowing.

There is a new fast ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, Kitsap Transit, it was free for the month of July as a test project. The ferry runs three times in the morning and then three times in the afternoon. It was a great option for us on the way over to Seattle and it is only a 35-minute ride. On the way back we took the Washington State Ferry, also a great trip but up to an hour and fifteen minutes per trip. On the second night of the baseball game the last ferry leaves at 12:50 am, which we took because the games went into 13 innings, it was a long evening, however everyone on the ferry was coming from the game so we were in the same boat (sorry for the pun) of a late night and a disappointing ending to the game. The Red Sox lost.

                                                 My hubby and I at Safeco Field

The last game on Wednesday was an afternoon game. I should mention that the two games prior were in the evening and as busy as the afternoon game. Boston Red Sox fans were out in full force. Fans came from all over. We sat next to a family of six, three generations of fans from Portland and Texas, I didn’t realize how dedicated fans were. Mariner fans were amazed that we were Canadian and were Red Sox fans, they didn’t understand why we’re not Blue Jay Fans, I don’t understand either until I started really watching the games. Over the years I’ve heard my husband and his friends and family discuss the game and I’ve tried to pay attention to other live games I’ve attended. I watched the players in a different light this time. I saw how passionate the players were about what they were doing. They were playing their favourite sport and getting paid for their passion. Each player is unique and fans put their faith into each player and the entire team organization, it’s a concept that I never thought about.

Like baseball, writing is the same for me and for many of you. We put our heart and souls into the words we put down on the page. We have faith in creativity and ourselves that we are writing with purpose. I know this to be true for me. At the moment I don’t get paid for my passion and that’s okay. I write for the pure joy of the process. I write because creativity chose me and my passion is to share with you the processes, trial and errors and joys of writing. I’m so grateful for our experience in Bremerton and Seattle this year – what a great vacation to watch passions unfold as they are meant to be.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .