The Creative Life ~ Home is Where the Heart Is

When I was living out West, I would fly back to Nova Scotia to visit family every two years. It was and still is expensive to fly across the country here in Canada. A flight can be up to $1200 round trip. In 2003, I could have flown to the UK, hotel stays and meals for that price ticket. I did a little research when I was looking for flights that year. Don’t get me wrong I love to travel and going back home filled me with joy, it helps me rejuvenate the creative soul where I could people watch in airports, one of my favourite things to do to gain more character development. I also loved sitting in the waiting area with my laptop and writing. Hundreds of other people would be working on whatever they had going on and there was an understanding, we are writing, if you need help during an emergency, I’m there, but right not, I’m in my space. Or so I would think to myself as I was working on my first self-published memoir. My imagination runs wild at the best of times, but in an airport or café, watch out, the ‘what if’ question runs around collecting and creating new stories. I love the creative process!

It’s been a long two years with this pandemic. Between lockdowns I was grateful to see my parents and when the Atlantic bubble reopened in July, I have made a point to visit my parents at least once every two months. As I shared, this is more than I was able to when I lived out West. I would visit Nova Scotia every two or three years for a week at a time. Now I am able to drive for five hours in the same time zone and spend a few days with my family. I am grateful for this opportunity. It’s one of the reasons we moved back to Atlantic Canada, to be closer to family and to start our farm. The farm is growing every day, we are so happy and joyful for the opportunities being provided to us to grow the farm to provide fresh local food for the community.

I was recently in Nova Scotia to visit mum and dad over the Labour Day weekend. I left on Friday morning and returned on Sunday afternoon. During my last visit I intended to visit my Aunt E, but the timing was off, so I took a chance this trip and stopped to see if she was home at two o’clock on a Friday afternoon and she was home. My Aunt E is one of my mom’s sisters, she took care of me many times when I was younger. My mother would fly to visit my father when he was away at sea for months on end. The Navy use to fly wives out once during each time their spouses were out at sea. How things have changed over the past thirty years.

When I walked into her house the memoires of how much fun I had during our family gatherings rushed through my body. It seemed like every Sunday when I was a young girl, we were at Aunt E’s house where the family would get together for a pot luck dinner. The green gunk pistachio Jell-O salad is something that I avoided every time it was presented on the table. If you are interested send me an email for the recipe.     

          

One memory that came clear to me was when I shared my creativity with my one of my cousins. It wasn’t planned, he was playing with his hot rod racing cars and I was playing on the piano. I remember hearing a song in my head and I just started to hit the piano keys hoping it sounded like what was rolling around in my head. Then I started to sing, more like singing a story, a play by play of the story, something about a boy fighting for his town and a girl he loved. It’s very vague, but I remember how time stood still and I was in the flow of creativity. My cousin was playing but he mentioned to his mother that I was singing and he liked what he heard. Do you think I could recall any of it the next time I sat down at the piano? Not one note. But the feeling of being in the creative flow was flowing in my veins. Creativity chose me at a young age and I’ve been working with creativity for a long time. I have strayed but always coming back and creativity is always there to say, ‘hey, let’s get to it.’ I sit down and it’s like no time has passed. It’s like coming home.

The rest of my visit with my parents was very relaxing and filled with touring around to my favourite places in the area. My father and I cooked a meal together which I cherish each time. We watched movies and relaxed. I maybe 47 but I am still their baby when I am in their presence. They try to let go but I understand. I hear stories from friends who parents treat them to same way. It’s their way of showing their love and that is okay with me. I knew I needed to fill my creative well again, I craved to be by the Ocean, I waded in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean and washed away the busy summer and connected to the earth.

I sit here at my writing desk sharing these experiences because we all need to know we are not alone. I am here to share stories and as I get myself back on track with my second memoir, I am reminded that I am the only one who can write my book, so it’s time to sit down and get to it.

Thank you for being here with me today, I wish you a great day.

Until Next Time, Keep on Writing…

Why is it hard to be a writer?

It is hard being a writer, how’s that for a start?

For me it never was as difficult as I “Think” it is today. The ego likes to tell me it is hard. These days it is about priorities. What comes first? Creative life, farm life or the hotel life?

Some days it is the hotel life, then coming home to the farm life for a few minutes and then a moment in the creative life.

Other days is can be the farm life mixed with the creative life. Then during the “work-week” the hotel life takes priority, it is the life that pays for the bills, that is reality. The creative life is my passion and if one day it pays the bills, bonus, but it is not why I write. I write because I can not, not write. I am a creative being, that is the truth. I also enjoy the hotel life, now. I was not having fun at the hotel life during the past year and a half, pandemic aside, I took on a position that I knew I didn’t want and knew it would affect my creative life, but I did it anyway, because the ego “thought” I needed to prove something, that I could do the job and I could do the job, but there is a difference. I didn’t want to be the go-to girl anymore. When you know, you just know and then slowly my passion was striped away with each new responsibility, each two in the morning text about the hotel operation system going down, each time I stepped into the building I felt a heaviness. My true self was screaming to get out of the vicious cycle. So, I did. I trusted the universe as I always have and always will and I moved to my new position, my new passion of the hotel life, human resources, taking care of employees so they can take care of themselves and our hotel guests. I am rewarded with the new experiences to grow and share with the employees. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. Thank you, universe.

When the work day at the hotel life is over, I head home and hang out in the green house to help with a few things. I ask my hubby to leave the harvesting of the kale for me, I love going into the greenhouse and being around the food we are growing for our community. Being around nature and growing food fill my soul with joy, it fills my creative well. The farm life and the hotel life both provide me and my creative life with what is needed to sit down and get the words on the page. This is why all three lives are a priority. I must maintain the level of passion that creativity and farming provide me wit. Creativity chose me to work through so I better get to the task at hand. Sharing the stories that are whispered in my ears are from creativity, if I don’t capture the stories, creativity will move along to another to work through. There is no time to waste when it comes to sharing stories.

There is no excuse to not engage with your passions. Even when I “think” my writing life is being put on the back burner, it is simply waiting for me and also gathering more inspiration and experiences, filling the creative well so that I have the energy and information to draw from. I love that image. A deep well filled with inspiration that I can scoop up when needed. It is about taking the time to prioritize those moments and what to focus on in each moment. In this very moment I am putting both creativity and the farming life in front. I am sitting at our farm stand writing this blog. Best of both worlds. I made a decision and followed through. I am here on the page fulfilling the creative life.

What are you doing to prioritize your creative life? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today. Enjoy the day!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

The Road to Turning Pro

Can you turn pro?

As I read Steven Pressfield’s, Turning Pro, Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, and have Gabby Bernstein’s, The Universe Has Your Back, rolling around in my mind, reminding me of what I know, what I’ve always known, I am a creative being. It’s true. I am a creative being. I have been provided the talent of making up stories, and writing my personal experiences to share with the world. Now, it is my job to share it with the world. The problem is, the ego as Pressfield describes it, our shadow life. Aka: Resistance and our addictions.

Before we get serious about our writing life, we tend to hold onto additions that seem like they are needed. We know they are bad for us but we can’t help ourselves. Pressfield shares a few addictions that I know related to.

  • Addicted to Distraction: Resistance hates two qualities above all others: concentration and depth. Why? Because when we work with focus and we work deep, we succeed. Resistance wants to keep u shallow and unfocused. So, it makes the superficial and the vain intoxicating. When you sit down to do your work, do you turn off the internet? How many times do you check your email? It can be fatal, keeping up with the Kardashians.
  • Addicted to Failure: Sounds odd but it’s true. Pressfield shares; There is a difference between failing (which is natural and normal part of life) and being addicted to failure. When we’re addicted to failure, we enjoy it. Each time we fail, we are secretly relieved. We are off the hook. We no longer have to ask and answer Stanislavsky’s famous three questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want?

These are two examples of our resistance getting in the way of our true selves. There is hope though. We have to be committed to our professional writing life. We can’t afford to half ass our lives any longer. We deserve to share our great work with the world.

Here are a few facts about habits and qualities that the professional posses that the amateur doesn’t:

  • The professional shows up every day.
  • The professional stays on the job all day.
  • For the professional, the stakes are high and real.
  • The professional is patient.
  • The professional accepts no excuses.
  • The professional does not show off.
  • The professional will not be distracted: The amateur tweets. The pro works.

The last one rings true for me. I am easily distracted these days. I was distracted by other work for the past year. Being on call as a GM of a hotel is a big distraction. It didn’t’ matter how many times I set boundaries, I am the one to be called if there is something wrong with the building and there tends to be something wrong with a building every Sunday afternoon. It was like waiting for the shoe to drop every time I sat down to write. I would wonder, will the hotel call? Will I need to go in on my “day off”. I witnessed my ego take over my true self and the road to my professional life was on a major U-turn back to the amateur lane. My true self was not having any of it, she was frustrated and had enough. She picked me up my shoulders and got me back on track. More meditation, more reading, more engaging with other authors and sharing with the universe that I was ready for a change.

I know I already went through a major change in the past two years, but why not again? If it is going to get me to where I am to be then let’s do it. The thought of waiting for the other shoe to drop was making me sick. I had no excitement left. The only joy I witnessed was when I was in the greenhouse planting or harvesting and when I as writing. So, my true self was pushing me towards doing more of what I loved. Then guess what, I got back on track.

I joined a writing sprint group and that helped me connect with other writers. I applied for a job that I have been gaining experiencing all these years in my hotel life and I accepted the position and have been working at the new hotel for less than a month and feel the weight on my shoulders lifted. The restless sleeps over being a GM of a hotel stopped. I now have full nights sleep and that helps me concentrate on what needs to get done.

I am serious about my writing life and this week I am taking steps to not be as distracted. Social media can wait, the story can’t.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Habits ~ Amateur vs. Professional

An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. ~ Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro ~ Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work

Steven Pressfield doesn’t hold back. Why should he? There is no time to dance around the subject of your writing career. You either are all in or not.

Pressfield goes on to say,

‘We can never free ourselves from habits. The human being is a creature of habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones. We can trade in the habits of the amateur and the addict for the practice of the professional and the committed artist or entrepreneur. It may help, as a jumping-off place, to consider the interior world of the most passionate and traffic creative of habit – the addict.’

I have been listening to other writing/spiritual wellbeing books, most recently, Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back. I am fully aware of my spirit guides, I have been on silent meditation retreats, ran a meditation retreat resort where I was surrounded by nature, and supported my creative life. I am connected to the earth. Nature is my power source. When I am outside in nature, around trees, water, the earth, I am grounded to my true self. I am aware of this. The past year and a half I have not been as grounded as I know I can be. We have been living in a pandemic and for the past few months, I was feeling full-on Covid-19 burnout. But even before that, I was stuck in a story that I created. It was my bad habit coming back to bit me in the butt. Like, Steven Pressfield, I can not hold back any longer. There is no time to dance around my ego anymore.

I shared in a previous post that I would be going through Mr. Pressfield’s, book, Turing Pro, as I believe we all need help to stay on track to maintain our creative life.

The next chapter (The chapters are one to two pages) that I am going to dive into is about resistance and addiction.

Steven shares that when we are younger, we experience a calling. To our art, to service, we experience positive aspirations. We see our higher purpose. Then it is immediately followed by resistance. Resistance can look like the following:

Fear, self doubt, and self sabotage.

Though we know we are called to do something with our art we don’t know where to begin. We are asleep, we don’t know how to fix something that doesn’t feel right. We become restless, bored, angry. We want to create something but we don’t know where to start and if we did, we’re so afraid that we don’t take the first step.

Then a habit replaces the aspiration. I tend to say that my ego slips in the smallest crack that I thought I shut tight, but in a blink of an eye, when I am not pay attention to my true self, ego will take any chance to slip in and find their favourite habit to mess me up.

What is my habit? Routine. My week-day habit. More so, after my day job routine. I leave my job to head home where I can’t wait to start cooking because I enjoy cooking. But that involves that glass of wine while I cook. That glass of wine turns into another while we eat and chat about our day. Then after dinner, I don’t have any energy to head to my writing room to get just a few words down or spend on my work in progress, promotion of my writing. I slip into the routine of sitting on the sofa and zoning out on whatever Netflix or Amazon Prime show we have chosen to put on as background noise as I start to scroll on Instagram, read articles, do everything but write. It has been this way for over a year now and there are weeks where I will break the cycle for a day or two, but it is so easy to slide right back into the routine of sinking into the sofa rather than sitting at my writing desk.

So how am I going to break the habit this time and replace it with a professional habit? I am pulled to meditate more, to spend more time outside in nature. I crave to sit in silence to get myself ground, so I am going to follow that calling. My writing life depends on it and I have to take it seriously. I can’t do this half-assed life any longer. I have manifested for far too long to waste what the universe has provided. I am sitting at my writing desk in a house that I envisioned on a farm since I was in my mid twenties. I have always said I am a write who happens to be a manger at a hotel. This is now true. I am a writer who happens to work at a hotel. The hotel provides me everything I needed to get to this very moment. I don’t ignore that. I am grateful. Now it’s is time to live the life as a writer who has a job to maintain and excel the creative life.

Next week I will focus on my progress of the after-work routine. I am committed to making this change to ensure I am focused on my calling. To creativity. To my true self.

Thank you for being here with me. Are you struggling with any habits that deter you from your true calling? How do you deal with them? I would love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

My New Favourite Vegan Recipe

Today I’m sharing something a bit lighter than my last Covid-19 post. Covid can get a little heavy and there is no need to let the negativity of the novel virus to bring us down. In one of my recent posts on how to get happy, I shared how cooking was one of my joyful activities, cooking makes me happy at any given moment. I’m getting excited now thinking about the fresh salsa I’m going to make for our quesadillas this evening. Yum.

My hubby and I have been 85% plant based for three years and over the years I’ve been finding and preparing new plant-based/vegan/vegetarian recipes. Being plant based doesn’t mean you are eating salad every night. There are so many fantastic recipes available to try and enjoy. Recently I was introduced to Butler’s Soy Curls and now I’m obsessed with the Vegan Beef and Broccoli recipe. The link to the main recipe

This recipe is great for lunch or dinner. Once the prep is done, it is a quick meal to put together. Vegan beef and broccoli (a.k.a. Mongolian soy curls) is the perfect answer to your Chinese take-out cravings. Sweet and salty soy curls with tender broccoli and scallions with make you lick your plate clean. Thank you veganyumminess!

My hubby and I are moving closer to being 95% plant based. We have our own farm and having readily available fresh vegetables makes it easy to easy plant-based. We have so many recipes to try that we don’t miss those steak nights. Especially after the “beef” and broccoli recipe. You would never know it was not meat. We have been eating fish, but recently have made a decision to cut fish out of our diet as much as possible. This is a hard one for us because we are big sushi fans – I’m sure I’ll find a great plant based sushi roll to make. If you have any recipes please send them my way. I will defiantly try them out and write all about it. If you try the vegan beef and broccoli please let me know how you like it.

Thank you for being here with me today. Wishing you all a great day!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing..

Sharing a Chapter of My Next Memoir

I am commiting to my New Year’s intentions of sharing more. To share more about my creative life, the struggles I face as a writer who works a more than full time job. I am working on my next Hotel Memoir about working for luxory hotels and resorts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. My debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, is about my experiences in Lake Louise. My next memoir picks up where I left off at the Lake and then I move to Jasper to work for the companies sister property, Jasper Park Lodge, located in Jasper, Alberta. A small alpine town in the commerical centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies. Like moving to Lake Louise from Nova Scotia, I didn’t know anythhing about Jasper. My boyfriend at the time asked me to move to Jasper with him because he accepted an offer at the Lodge as Chef de Partie, he was motivated to become a Exectuive Chef at an early age. I was driven by his passion towards his carrer and my longing to leave the Lake and the ex-boyfriend I couldn’t seem to let go of. It’s a messy story and I’m working on sharing it in this next memoir. I am still working on the titel of the next memoir, for now, let’s go with, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Winters, because I share experiences of what it is like to work for a luxory hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in the winter.

I am sharing this chapter about the brief history of Jasper Park Lodge, the ghost stories and my insights of losing myself in Jasper. I welcome feedback, please email me at marionann.berry@gmail.com or leave a comment below. Thank you.

Jasper Park Lodge

If you get the opportunity to visit Jasper, Alberta, I highly recommend you take a few days to enjoy your experiences.

Like many of the original Canadian Pacific hotels, Jasper Park Lodge has it’s unique history. First named Tent City in 1915 for the railway workers of Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. In 1920 it was managed under the Canadian National Hotels. In 1988 it was sold to Canadian Pacific Hotels, now under Fairmont Hotels. The property sits along the shores of Lac Beauvert, larger than Lake Louise but similar activities to enjoy, canoeing in the summer and skating in the winter. The lake also was a hinderance for the animals of Jasper. One winter I witnessed an Elk fall through the Lake when a heard was crossing the lake. It was amazing to walk one Elk plunge into the water while the others stood solid around the break in the ice. That summer the Elk had to be removed by Parks Canada.

            Sis: It was not a pretty sight.

            Marion Ann: Especially when the lake was unthawing and you could see the poor dead elk with its eyes wide open. Image what it was thinking as it fell through the ice.

            Sis: Help me!

The resort has many ghost stories. Some that I have witnessed, some that made me walk a little quicker past a particular cabin, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand tingle as I tried to quickly look into the window of the cabin where a room attendant died.

The Chambermaid of Point Cabin is one of the stories that have been told by generations of JPL employees. The woman, let’s call her Lily, was cleaning the card room (a small upper-level room from the living area) and for unknown reasons fell down the stairs to her death.

The lights in the card room turn on randomly from time to time. The Front desk receives phone calls from the cabin when there is no one checked into the cabin. The hairs on my arms are standing up. I would walk by the cabin and take a quick glance to see if I could see the light on or a shadow of the Lily.

My imagination would run wild as I walked by the cabin. Who was Lily? What brought her to the Lodge? Why take a job in the middle of the Canadian Rockies as a Chambermaid? 

A question many of us were asked by guests. Why work in a hotel far from home?

            Sis: Why not?

The other ghost story that the Lodge is know for is the lady in the photograph. The picture was placed near the dining room, The Moose’s Nook, and anytime I went past the picture I shivered from a random coldness, even in the middle of a hot day in the summer.

As the story goes, in 1920 a photographer took a photo just outside of the Moose’s Nook at JPL. The picture, meant to feature the empty dining room. The photographer swore he was alone and that the room was empty, but when the photo was developed there was what appears to be an elderly woman sitting at a table.

The story told behind the photograph is vague. Apparently, an elderly couple died at the Lodge and the man would be wandering around the Lodge while the woman waited in the dining room for her husband to join her. Vague or not, it is a romantic ghost story. Image waiting for you loved one not knowing they are dead. Now left with the grief and waiting for them to return night after night.

I wouldn’t go to the Mooses Nook if I didn’t need to. I wasn’t afraid but I didn’t want to interrupt the woman waiting for her lover. My boyfriend at the time and a few of our friends had dinner one night before it closed for the season and I was uncomfortable for most of the evening. That feeling of someone watching us loomed over me as I tried to enjoy the beautiful meal. However, I just felt like I should be looking for someone at the same time. Was the elderly woman sitting with us? Was she sharing her grief with me? I didn’t go back to the Nook unless I had to assist with setting up a function. I am not normally afraid of the spirt world, but I wanted to avoid the feeling of loss as much as possible. In hindsight I lost myself at the Lodge and felt the weight of grief for many years after having my heart broken by not only my ex-boyfriend, but by my self.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Memoir Writing – A lonely journey

“No one elected me the boss of memoir” ~ Mary Karr, author of The Art of Memoir

By no means do I know every detail about memoir writing. I am learning every day. I barely have scratched the surface of what it means to write memoir. I only know that my passion is to write memoir. I have done a lot of research and write what I know about. The experiences I have experienced. It took me time to find my voice and I am still fine-tuning that voice. Writing is about adjusting every day. The common theme the writers I read that share their stories about writing is, practice, practice, practice. Write every day, read a lot and write a lot. Keep writing.

I want to be upfront with you about the writing life. Writing is a lonely job. You have to be comfortable with being by yourself for long periods of time. You have to be willing to give up social engagements to commit to the writing because no one else is going to write the book for you (unless you hire a ghostwriter).

I am an only child. I am used to being by myself. I have years of practice on how to entertain myself. My Barbies lived out my stories that ran around my mind. I surrounded myself with other only children. Anyone with a sibling I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand how they shared the same space when I could barely share the space of my only child world. I was in training for having a solitary lifestyle. It baffles me that I chose a hospitality career where I have dealt with thousands of people over the past twenty years as my day job as I work on my writing. However, the hotel life has provided me with exactly what was and is needed to maintain and excel this beautiful creative life that is fully intended. I have gathered a lifetime of characters over the years. I have served some interesting people and there is a hint of their personalities in more stories.

My experiences in the hospitality life are no accident. I was writing about my maternal grandparents in the early ’90s and my intention was to write a book of poetry tributed to them. I wrote 90 poems and shared them with a writer in residence when we were living in Campbell River, BC on Vancouver Island in the early 2000s. The writer shared my poems were filled with vivid imagery and prose. They could be turned into a memoir. As the writer spoke the truth I started to cry because he was right. It was like the stars and universe aligned in a perfect moment just for me to send me this message. You are here to write memoir. A wave of euphoria swept over me. My shoulders became relaxed and I felt my smile grow across my face. I knew that I was here to be a writer, but now I was aware of the genre I was to be focusing on. Thank you universe.

I turned the 90 poems into a 200-page memoir about my grandparents and my growing up as a young girl. It took a few months to convert the poems into prose and another three years to find an editor to help me shape the story into a book I could send to a traditional publisher or self-publish myself. Then something changed. The fear of my family reading how I felt about them took over. Maybe I was writing this book to let go of the family drama that every family goes through. No one gets out of this life with a perfect childhood. I don’t care how privileged you are, there is always something hiding in your closet. I switched gears and pulled out the half-written manuscripts about my time working for luxury hotels in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. People would want to read about behind the scenes of working for a resort they may or may not have visited. Anthony Bourdain was popular for writing his memoir, Kitchen Confidential. There were many TV shows and movies about the employees of hotels. It was time to share my experiences. I was excited with the quick shift of what I would publish first. It took three years to finish the manuscript, find an editor and revise, revise and revise some more.

Why did it take so long you may ask? Life. Ego. Fear.
Life: We moved to Victoria, BC where I accepted a job as a duty manager at a hotel. I was starting out fresh. Again. I had to prove myself. Again. I had to play the game of the hotel life that sucked me back in because the income was good. I needed money to pay for editors, book covers, and everything else in between that comes with the writing life.

Ego/Fear: The ego kept chanting, who do you think you are. There are so many books out there, what is so special about yours? Then the fear of someone else writing their experiences about working in the luxury hotel pushed me to find the people I needed to help me finish the book and self-publish. Thank goodness for fear and determination.

I started off saying the writing life is a lonley joureny. It is. I spend a lot of time alone when I am writing. That’s my process. Then when it is time to self-publish and market, that is the not so lonely part. You spend time with your editor, your book formator, friends to boucne marketing ideas off with. Engaging with readers, friends and family to share the work. I get a boost of energy when I spend some time with people, and now that we are in a global pandemic, those times are spend on Zoom, still engaging with people and that fills my writing well where I can go back to my writing room and be by myself to keep writing.

It seems that I have moved around a lot in this post. I wanted to show you a little of what my writing world looks like. When we moved back to the East Coast and I started a new hotel life job, I knew my writing life would take a hit, but now after a year, I have taken back my creative life and making it a priority. I am siting here in my writing room, writing.

Thank you for being here with me today. What does your writing life look like? Are you okay with the solitary life? Any advise for new writers? I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

2021 New Year’s Intentions Check In

My 2021 intentions are to put my creative life first. Creativity gets priority over everything else, besides going to my day job and helping with the farm when needed. However, I have made an effort to change my habits about when I “thought” I can write. Last year I was telling myself a story that I didn’t have the energy to write after a day at the hotel life. Then a few days ago I watched a video by Kristin McTiernan, the Nonscence -Free Editor. I stumbled upon Kristin when I was researching memoir practices on youtube. I was intrigued by her ‘Write with a Day Job: Make Money While Writing.’ I had been struggling with the notion of working a more than full-time job and trying to get writing in on the side. I forgot about ‘I am a writer who happens to be a manager at a hotel’. This mantra helped me separate my day job and my creative life over the year. It is time to take back this frame of mind.

The video was to the point. There were two notions that spoke to me. 1. Don’t quit your day job if you are not writing and publishing a book a month. Apparently, this is how on-line/self-published writers are making money. They write fast and keep their readers engaged. Then my ego says:

Well if I wasn’t working full time at a day job then I would have the time to write a book a month. Would it be that easy to quit the job and write a book a month? For me. Not right now.

2. The second item that Kristin spoke about was the type of day job. If you have a taxing job how are you expected to come home and write. After a day of emotional up and downs, hand-holding, putting out little fires everywhere is draining. Then try to come home, sit down and write. I use to belive this. I complained in my morning pages for years about my hotel life sucking time and energy from me, leaving me with nothing at the end of the day to even think about sitting down at my writing desk to invest any more of emotions onto the page. But every time I complained about the situation I put myself in, I turned around to say how grateful I was. I was and continue to be grateful for the amazing opportunities that have been provided to maintain this amazing creative life. My sassy-alter ego, who I call Sis, says, “Figure it out and write”. And that is what I did. Every day off I spent writing. I surrounded myself with other writers, I made myself accountable for my actions.

No One is Going to Write My Book For Me

I may have a job where my time and energy are wiped from me some days, but it helps me pay the bills, put food on the table, pay for editors, book cover designs, and everything in-between. My intention is for my writing to provide the finances to pay for all the same things, however, at this time, until I get a J.K. Rowling contract, I will continue to gain character developments and plot lines at the hotel life. I have met some very interesting people in all the hotels I have worked for and there is a little piece of our conversations or the way they may have said something to someone, the way they looked at their friend, lover, dog that struck a cord in me to write about. One of the best lines I have heard outside my office one night was, I didn’t know you loved me that much in that way. My imagination was ignited once the words left the woman’s mouth that was pacing back and forth in the lobby. I went home that night and wrote 1500 words. Though I worked until 10:00 pm I was energized by the story. I had to get the words down and see where the story leads me.

My day job has been the hotel life for over 25 years and I have written my debut memoir about my experiences in the hospitality world. If I didn’t have these experiences I wouldn’t have written the book. I am grateful for the experiences and life lessons that I have overcome to be right here and now. Everything happens for a reason. Now I am holding myself more accountable for my actions. In the first nine days of 2021, I have put creativity first when possible. When I am at work I am aware of creativity whispering in my ear and I ask for the time to do my day job and then I promise I will write when I get home, either before or after dinner. Every night I have worked on my second memoir in one shape or another, writing new words, doing research, setting up promotions, or reviewing what I have written the day before to make sure I am on track with my theme. Personal Growth.

I am making myself accountable here with you. I am also part of a year long writing challenge that keeps me responsible. To keep me on track with my work in progress. I am putting a little bit of pressure on myself and I need it. I will give myself a break when needed. I am not going to take part in this year’s April blog challenge. It is a distraction and I am aware of this. It is time to focus on my memoir writing. My intention is to write two or three books a year, but for now, I will write one book at a time. That is what I can do in this moment.

Thank you for being here with me today. Did you make any New Year’s intentions? What are they? How are they doing in the first week of the New Year? I love hearing from you.

Until Next Time, Keep On Typing…

A Merry Covid Holiday! 2020

How was your Christmas? Did you spend it with your close family? How did Covid change your holiday traditions this year? Here in the Maritimes, many long standing traditions have been forced to change due to limits on gatherings and travel restrictions. I could have driven to see my parents, however I would have to self-quaintine for 14 days in Nova Scotia and then again when I returned to New Brunswick. This was not relatistic for myself or many others that live in the area. Though it would be nice to spend time with my family I understand the risks and it’s more important to keep everyone safe. I have lived away from my parents for over 15 years and we are used to not being together in person. The phone calls and viedo chats have connected us over the years and 2020 is no different when I lived on Vancouver Island. I understand this is my story and I am use to it. I understand that many of you have traditions of spending the holidays with all your family in person. I understand, the hug, the laughter, seeing each other smile, the reactions to opening gifts. I miss these moments too.

As a young girl, I have fond memories of spending Christmas at my Grandparents Berry’s farm. My mom, dad, and I would wake up in our home in Kingston, Ontario and open our presents and then get ourselves together to drive to the farm where my Grandparents hosted the family Christmas dinner. I remember hugs, the smell of turkery and apple pie. My grandmother was always baking pies, she seemed to enjoy providing baked goods for all of us. I remember her being in the kitchen ninety percent of her time when we would visit. I assumed she enjoyed puttering around getting things ready for the family. When the Berry family was together at the farm house, everyone did their part for the Christmas festivities. The decorations were bright and inviting. Thoughtful presents wrapped beautifully with shiny wrapping paper and big ribbon bows. Chocoaltes and cookies on plates spread around the house so you were never without a sweet treat. I am smiling as I write this about these sentimental memories.

I now love puttering in the kitchen preparing food for Adam and I, and our family-bubble friends who have shared some time with us over the holidays. Adam and I spend Christmas Eve with his parents for a nice light dinner. On Christmas Day, Adam and I spent the day alone. I got up to work out while Adam attended to the microgreens and prepared for next week’s harvest. We opened gifts, made breakfast, and the rest o the day was filled with watching Christmas movies, attending to the greenhouse due to the 70km winds that potentially could have damaged the frame, but Adam was attentive to the structure to ensure it didn’t fly away. We made a nice vegetarian dinner and spend the night watching one of our favorite movies, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I couldn’t think of a better way to share time with the one I love.

The remainder of the Christmas weekend was spent in my writing room cleaning things up from wrapping presents, reorganizing my books and preparing to work on this blog and my current work in progress. I enjoy having time off to spend time with my family and focus on the writing. Now I am preparing to find how I can focus more on the writing after my day job. The past few months I have been aware of the lack of time spent on the writing life and that is about to change. I have to take a hard look at my time mangement. It has been an area in my life (both work and writing) that I have struggled with. I am not in university anymore trying to cram for an exam and writing papers at 1:00 am that are due at 10:00 am the next day. Coivd may have stopped many things in our lives, but it is not going to change the way I treat my creative life any longer. The true self has had enough of the ego playing this poor me story. The magic of Christmas has slapped me across the face with twinkle lights and all. I am ready to get back to what is important. Me. The writing. Creativity.

Thank you for being here with me today and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Thank you pixabay.com and Pexels.com for the photos

Merry Christmas 2020

I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! In the spirit of the holiday’s I wanted to share a few quotes from our favourite Christmas movies.

There are many other movies and quotes that I have touched me over the years. I love the Christmas spirit and wish you all a safe and magical holiday!

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…