Writing Memories

The Memoir Club, convened by Molly McCarthy and Virgina Woolf attended the first meeting. They stated one of their goals was  ‘Absolute Franckness’. I came across this while reading, Writing the Memoir, by Judith Barrington. I love the image of Absolute Frankness. It is truthful. Down right to the core. No messing around with creativity. Baring the soul with such truth is still an act of faith.

I’m not sure at one point when I become a memoirist; a person who writes memoirs. All I knew was that I wanted to share stories. I loved all the ideas that seemed to come to me easily(and still do) and I would act them out in my head or write them down (again, still do). I would have pages of dialogue between characters. When I look back some of the material I kept (and I kept it all) I don’t even remember writing it. That’s what we call the ‘gap’ or the ‘zone’ where you do something you love and time seems to stand still. It’s a great feeling.

I was given Writing the Memoir by a work colleague and I didn’t really look at it. At the time I was working on my memoir about my maternal grandparents. I was working with an editor and writing mentor and didn’t look twice at the book. Last week I had a sense that I needed some help with my motivation and direction of my latest memoirs of working in the hospitality world. The true self-knows what it needs and it will nudge its way towards the things that will tickle the senses.

What things do you think about over and over? What stories haunt you? Which people from the past do you dream about? What makes you passionate when you think about it or talk about it? What do you argue about? Most of us have ongoing obsessions. ~ Judith Barrington

I started to answer some of these questions and I realized that I am on the right track with my hotel life series of memoirs. The stories haunt me. After fifteen years I still dream of the place that got me started in the hotel life. The things I have seen and done also haunt me but also fill me with joy. The hospitality world is a double-edged sword. One that I am grateful to be part of, the world that I can’t seem to get enough of; like a loose tooth that you can’t seem to stop playing with until it ever so gently breaks away and you are left with a satisfying feeling of never giving up.

You can’t hide behind a memoir and I had to learn through my first memoir that keeping everyone, especially me, at an arm’s length. I have to be willing to take immense risks to reap enormous rewards. Am I ready? I’ve been ready all my life, I’m just catching up to it.

I’ve been honest with you and myself since I started this blog. I only want to share the stories that seem to make their way to me. A memoir is different and it can be difficult to let it go. Saying that. I’m ready to share the stories of my life through the chosen career of the hotel world.

I will be starting to share some of the chapters of the hotel life series. I don’t when I will start, I don’t have a date because I am knee-deep in first draft revisions but I need a kick in the pants to get those edits done and start sharing this hotel life I talk about.  It is a scary moment for me but very exciting one as this is all wanted, to write, to learn, to share, to be.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Change Is In The Air

How do you switch gears on your writing life when you have been focused on a certain path then after one innocent and honest conversation, your focus takes a slight turn but for the good. I’m not sure if there is any way to avoid the changes in my writing and I’ll embrace the transformation. My life has been about redirections and I’m excited to see what will unfold.

What changes am I talking about? Maybe it’s not about change, more like an improvement on what I am currently doing.  I’ve been avoiding the revisions on my current work in progress, why? I’m tired of looking at them that’s why. That’s the honest truth. It is exhausting to look at the third round draft and only to find it needs another over haul to make any sense. My ego is screaming, damn it! Okay, so is my creative self only because she wants to be working on other ideas that are rolling in like a tsunami. I am very aware of the fact that we live in a universe of limitless possibilities. I believe anything is possible. I have this notion that I have already written and published several novels, plays, screenplays, TV shows, you name it, I’ve written it. The feeling or knowing is that I’m catching up to what is already there, but I’m right here trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to get there. Have you ever felt this?

So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable. ~ Jen Sincero

Hello! When I first read this side note I was nodding my head in agreement with great intent and whispering out loud, yes, yes, I have done this. I’m not pretending to be a writer, I am a writer who happens to choose to work a more than a full-time job in a field that strangely enough I enjoy. However, to be honest I may be day dreaming about my writing life and what I should be doing to further my creative life. I know that someone else out there who is passionate about writing is surely spending more time on their craft than I am and that scares the hell out of me. This is why I have to switch my focus and get on track and get to my revisions. I have to embrace the edits that are part of the writing process. So without further adieu, I am off to dive deep to the improvements.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

What Do you Want Your Life to Look Like?

After reading Katharine Grubb’s, When the Timer Dings, the questions she asks and the exercises she presents to us have been lingering within me.

Have you ever taken a long-term approach to what you want your life to be like? Why or why not? 

This question is not for the light-hearted. You have to really take a look at what is important to you. Do you want a life that is comfortable where you get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, sit in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed and then do it all over again? I’m not saying you are doing the above at the moment, and honestly, I have been doing this for about two weeks and desperately trying to break the cycle and I have been taking steps to change this bad habit that has somehow sneaked its way into my life.

I have been looking at a long-term approach to what I want in my life for most of my life. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer, tell stories, write plays. Maybe even act out the stories or have actors act out the possible TV shows or movie ideas that were rolling around in my mind. I’ve daydreamed about a life where I was writing and working with other writers and creative people to 1. get my work published and 2. to help others write and share their stories. This has always been the life I’ve wanted.

There have been some moments in my creative life where I have achieved certain aspects of this life. I once was a resort manager of a meditation retreat center and I booked different workshops that inspired the creative soul. The Painting Experience, writing and yoga, and then in the offseason I would open the center every Monday or Tuesday for a few hours in the morning for people to come and work on their craft. Be it writing, painting, sculpting, music, I was creating a space where people felt safe to be creative and work on their passions. It was so effortless and like writing that ‘gap’ that many creative and spiritual mentors share when you are doing something you love, time seems to exist. What a feeling!

As time and life moves along, I got caught up in the ego’s trap where I kept thinking ‘okay, you should be doing this or that. You should be making X amount of money at some random job.’ then my true self would pipe up and ask, why do I need to be making a certain amount of money at some random job that I might not even like when I want to be writing and one day be paid for my creativity? A very good question.

What am I doing now to approach my long-term life goals? Why is so important to feed the creative soul that cries out to be heard? I am listening to my true self – it’s not that I haven’t been listening, I have honestly been tuning out my genuine self for random reasons that only I can be accounted for. Now, once again, it’s time to kick the ego to the curb.

I wish you well ego. I hope someone else adopts you, I’ve had enough and ready for the next step. ~ Marion Ann Berry

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

Do you love your routine? I sure love mine.

Do you have a writing routine? Are you taking your creative life seriously? Do you shut the door to your writing space, corner or wherever you write? Do you turn off the phone, social media and other distractions to sit down and do what is needed to get where you are going? Are you surrounded by supportive people who applaud your passions or suck you into binge watch Netflix?

Some routines and habits are good and a few of them can be hurting us and our creative life. I am pretty good with my life goals and use to be very stubborn with my writing time. No one was allowed to talk to me when I was writing. I can’t remember when I started this notion, but lately I’ve been much more open to people coming up to me to say hello, or ask about the stickers on my laptop or the book I maybe reading. Human interaction is not as scary as I once made it out to be in my head. Gotta love the ego sometimes.

Why am I asking you about your writing or creative routine? I was flipping through Jen Sincero’s, You are a Badass, I stopped on page 147 in Part 4’s section, How to Get Over Your B.S. Already, there are a few steps on how to get out of your own way and get on with the life you know you should be living but you and the ego are not seeing eye-to-eye.

5. Get out of your routine: Talk to strangers, wear something different, go to a new grocery store, make dinner for someone you want to get to know better, change toothpastes…walk taller, notice five awesome things you’ve never notice about your home, your beliefs, your mother, you face. Do things that pull you out of your routine and you’ll be amazed by the new realities that were there all along that suddenly present themselves. 

Yes, I agree to certain things to pull me out of my regular day-to-day rut that I’m involved with five days a week at the hotel life. It’s not really a rut, it’s currently the routine I’m working with and that’s okay. I’m working on it.                                           I like the idea of wearing something different, and I’ve changed my toothpaste, it’s better than the one I’ve been using for years. A small thing but a great change.

 

I love my writing routine. Sunday mornings my friend, award-winning author, Jacqui Nelson and I get together and write, drink coffee and talk about writing. Sunday afternoons I continue the creativity by either baking for the week or back to the page and tinker with my blog page. Sunday evenings I leave open to cook an elaborate meal or try a new recipe. We may watch a movie or spend time outside because it is currently summer and if you can, get outside and get some natural vitamin D.

Monday mornings I’m in my writing room for most of the day. I love connecting with other writers and reading their blogs and doing some research on possible new ideas. I tend to leave the house to go for a walk or go to any appointments that I need to attend to in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon I will head back to my writing room and settle back onto the page for a bit until my partner gets home from work, I welcome the break and love to hear about his day, it’s important to us to connect. He understands my writing life and he is the one who gently reminds me to get to the page and I love him for that.

 

Throughout the week I have slipped into a routine that I am trying to break. I was good at coming home to work at least ten to fifteen minutes on writing, but not in the past month and that bad habit is about to change. I’ll be here on the page a lot more.

What does your writing routine look like? What habits do you want to change to get to the page more often? I’m going to embrace my partners encouragement and head to my writing room, shut the door and write.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

How to get unfrazzled

Lately life has become a little hectic, I’m not usually one to share that I’m possibly feeling a bit frazzled, however, I’ve been feeling a bit, well, frazzled.

When I start to work on my true self, she, the little girl within who has the knowing what is needed to be happy wants to come out and play. She wants to do cartwheels in the rain, make mud pies, play hide-and-seek and write stories all day – and so do I! I have been on a few silent meditation retreats that have provided some deep spiritual awakening, more like harsh reminders to get my ego out of my ass and remember what life is about, and what is life about? Experiencing the experience, being right here and now and the one thing that grounds me so fast that it makes your head spin is being here on the page. I am aware of this, you are aware of this, so if we are aware, then why do we let ourselves, our life stuff, get in the way?

Where I work, I am the one talking to employees  about the importance of a work-life balance. Life is not all about working 40 hours a week (though I rely on many of my team members to work a full 40 hours a week to keep the business going), and if you are working full-time hours then make the time to do things that make you smile and shine. It’s funny how I can preach this to make sure that everyone else is okay, but lately I haven’t been the best at practicing this very important life management skill.

There are a few ways to get yourself on track or at least a step in the right direction. Ask yourself, what is the one thing that you have a real passion for? I mean dig deep and ask if there was no holding back due to fear, money, or whatever obstacles you can think of, what would you do? Then every day do something for that passion to get you one step closer to the life you have envisioned for yourself. If you are passionate about walking dogs but you can’t have a dog because of where you live or your partner is allergic, then take the step to volunteer at the SPCA, ask a friend with a dog if you can walk their dog, I’m sure they will appreciate it. Once you have put it out to the universe that you want to walk dogs, watch out, you’ll be walking dogs.

                                 Dog Walker by Lelpel

My passion is writing, to share with you, to really put it all on the page, raw emotions and all. Sometimes I hold back and keep everyone at an arm’s length and that’s why I intend to write everyday, I am one word closer to breaking down that wall that has been built by my ego and all its idiotic fears of who-knows-why! If I’m not writing or working on writing then I feel myself quickly curl into a ball of negativity and I’m no use to anyone. I am aware of this. I am also aware if I’m not working as hard on my passion you better believe someone else is working that much harder to gain knowledge of their passion and guess whose left in the dust? Ego, me and I.

What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.

About six years ago when I said I wanted to write and get paid for my writing a few weeks later I bumped into a woman who I helped with creating a workshop with and she was starting an on-line women’s magazine the material would be about health, wellness, spiritual, connecting and over all Wise Women. I shared that I was available to help write and within a month I was hired as a freelance writer for her magazine. I didn’t get paid a lot but I was getting money in exchange for the talent I had been provided with, how cool was that?!

I’m not saying it’s as easy as saying, hey universe I want a million dollars. Okay, how are you going to work for that millions dollars? You can’t just sit around all day saying you want something and don’t work for it. You have to work for it. It’s that simple, but it is hard work. No one ever said anything came on a silver platter. That is why I have to commit to being here on the page every day, or at least be with creativity and if that means working on my email list or researching for a character, I’m working for my passion and that’s what matters.

Let me know if you need help with getting started with your passion. I’m here to help, bounce ideas off, have some fun.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

 

 

One Writer Working Through some Life Questions

How many times can you push your snooze button or ignore the one thing that you value the most important to you? How many times will I tell myself enough is enough? Enough of the procrastination! Creativity does not deserve this kind of treatment and either do I. (Insert stomping of foot here)

The past week I’ve been thinking about those first few questions in Katharine Grubb’s, When the Timer Dings. I wanted to honestly answer them.

  • Do you see a separation between what’s most important to you and what you’re actually doing with your time?
  • Are you satisfied with your productivity on a daily basis?
  • Do you think that the things you are getting done are really the things that you value or not?

Did I mention these are not the easiest question to ask yourself when you know the answers and don’t want to face the truth. Okay, so let’s get to it.

Do you see a separation between what’s most important to you and what you’re actually doing with your time? Hell Yes! Let’s take writing this blog for a moment. I typed out the question for the second time and I instantly thought how I should go to my 365 writing club tracking sheet to post my daily word count. Ding-ding! Writing this blog, writing all together is the most important thing to me and what do I end up doing instead? Head to another side project just because I think about it, which leads into the next question:

Are you satisfied with your productivity on a daily basis? Hell no! I was driving on Friday afternoon when I started to feel down right bad about how I didn’t do any writing before work when I normally start a blog or at least look and fiddle with my work in progress. I did nothing. I got up, went to the gym, came home, showered went for groceries, came home, meditated, made my dinner and went to work. I filled my day with puttering away, avoiding the one thing that I crave to do, except I completely ignored it on another level than I’m use to and that’s not a good thing. The only positive realization was that I am aware I’m ignoring my passion but what I can’t ignore is how I feel when I am right here on the page. At peace. Why in the hell would I want to not be here all the time? Good question.

The last question: Do you think that the things you are getting done are really the things that you value or not? No.                                                                                       The things that I’m getting done are definitely auto pilot items, doing laundry, cleaning the house, yes they have value, we need clean clothes and the house needs to be in order – if the house is in order then there is no way the ego can say, ‘oh maybe you should wash the windows before you get started on the work in progress, maybe clean the bathroom before you start that blog… ‘It’s good to be aware of the ego and the little games it tries to play to redirect the attention to the things that really don’t matter.

The important things like writing a blog post for Monday Blogs is of value for me and I want to write it in a timely fashion. It’s funny to me that I was so organized during the April, A to Z blog challenge and was able to write five blogs in a few days to be ready, scheduled to post each day and now I struggle to even get one blog post written for Monday morning. I want to say yes to the fact that I’m satisfied of my productivity. This is me moving forward with my commitment to creativity, to my true self.

 

If you have time, sit with the same questions to see if you have areas in your life that you need a little tweaking. I know I’ll be reviewing the questions again as I move forward.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .

When The Timer Dings: a look at our life management skills

Life is messy. You’ll be scrapping that beautiful plan and reshapping it for one reason or another. Our purpose should never be to force ourselves to use tools that don’t work but to constantly make adjustments and grow. ~ When the Timer Dings

Katharine Grubb’s, When The Time Dings; Organizing your life to make the most of 10 minute increments is a delightful and creative book not only about life management but how to maintain your creative life. Basically, it comes down to being honest what is important to you, what do you value and what do you want to be spending your time on and how are we are able to spend the time we want to on our passions. When the Timer Dings has stirred up a few skeletons in my closet and I’m ready to get up and work!

Katharine hooks me in from the very first sentence. My to-do list is long. It taunts me.  

I am also tormented by my ever-growing to-do list in life and my full-time job. I usually tell people when they ask ‘what do I do?’ I tell them ‘I’m a writer who happens to work as a manager at a hotel’ Thank’s to Scarface, I have changed my mindset on who I really am. I am not a hotelier by nature but I am good at what I do and I enjoy helping people. This is also true for my writing. But this is not about me, this is about Katharine’s witty, intelligent life management book.

When The Timer Dings is filled with engaging stories of Katharine’s life and how to make the most out of 10 minute increments. The book won’t tell you how to be more productive, but asks why – what is it that makes you want to be more successful? She has cleverly crafted exercises at the end of each chapter that push us our of our comfort zones:

  1. Do you see a separation between what’s most important to you and what you’re actually doing with your time? Are you satisfied with your productivity on a daily basis? Do you think that the things you are getting done are really the things that you value or not?

And these are only the first questions of the first exercise, I wasn’t sure if I could keep reading if I had to take real hard look at my productivity because deep down I know I needed to shift gears and work on my inefficiencies. These are some tough questions and I did answer them honestly even if I didn’t like what I wrote down and stared at the rawness of truth. I was ready to read on and work out the kinks in my life management skills. Just sit down and write, that was and is my truth, so that’s what I did, that’ is what I am doing.

I have to share that I agreed to read this book for an honest review. I happily accepted because I love Katharine’s Facebook Page, 10 Minute Novelists, and how I needed to read this book to shake up my foggy complacent ego and let the creative being take over, even if it’s for 10 minute increments, it’s 10 minutes of productivity I didn’t take advantage of if I was still sitting on the sofa binge watching House of Cards, Season 5. Oh how The Underwood saga can suck you in – then I think, hey I want my writing to do the same thing, so why am I not working on what I love? All great questions and barriers that Katharine helps us with during When the Timer Dings.

Until next time, keep on typing. . . .(every 10 minutes)