The Truth About the Creative Life

I have been sharing a lot about my writing life and how grateful I am for the opportunities and experiences that have been and that are provided to maintain this creative life. Where does it come from? There are many names we give this source, God is the go-to name, and that is completely fine. For me, it’s the universe. The universe has always provided exactly what was needed and what I was ready for to get to the next step. The universe has exposed me to experiences that we part of my path, but I may have chosen the wrong situation and it was still part of my journey to understand the lesson to be learned. What do I mean by this?

What you resist, persists

There once was a girl who wanted a boyfriend. She was jealous of her friends who had a boy chasing after them. This girl was average-looking, but when she looked into a mirror and stared into her own eyes, she saw something special. She was told how special she was by her parents, especially her mother and maternal grandmother. She felt this unique energy of love, but she didn’t believe it when the boys she had a crush on used her for her pens and pencils at school only to get closer to her girlfriend. In high school, the boy she had a crush on took her to a basketball game, went to the mall with her, talked to her in the hallways of high school, sat next to her in class. She was smitten. She thought he was going to ask her to the next school dance.

“Can you give me “Julie’s” phone number please. I want to ask her to study group.”

The boy explained he wanted to be someone who was as academic as he was. If he couldn’t compete with Julie then he may as well collaborate with her and at the same time date her. He also said his friend liked the girl and he would introduce them. It was a win-win for everyone the boy implied.

The girl was devastated. She was mad. She was hurt. Her body raced with jealousy and anger.

She didn’t give the boy the phone number nor did she sit next to him in the next science class.

The girl vowed she would never let a boy take advantage of her again. Never say never.

After the science boy, she met a new boy through the youth group the science boy invited her to that she still enjoyed attending. Divine intervention came into play. The new boy, a skater boy, was nice, they had a few things in common, like music and books. The girl thought he was too good-looking for her, even when he asked if they could give her a drive home, she declined. She thanked them but said she was okay with taking the bus.

A few weeks later the skater boy called the girl to ask her out. She was in shock and happily accepted. They dated for a year until she started to receive more attention from other boys. She treated her skater boy like her crushes treated her. Her skater boy wanted more. She didn’t. He wanted to get married when they finished university. She wanted to travel and be free. She never shared with the boy she never wanted to get married. She left him for another boy who wanted even more of a commitment, marriage, babies, and house. She ran away from the love she always wanted but didn’t want the commitment.

***

True love persisted me every time I kept it at an arms length. I always thought there was something more. Deep down I knew if I stayed with skater boy, I would have lived a life I didn’t want. One with marriage, children, the dog, the house and white picket fence. That was my perception, I should say that was my ego’s thoughts. I listened to the ego for a long time and by the time I went through each relationship, each heartache, I was stripped down to the core. I didn’t want to date any more, I didn’t want to share my hart with anyone, I needed to heal and learn to love myself before giving up my heart to another.

Then I met my hubby. We are not married but we have been together for eighteen years. Somewhere the universe picked up on my intentions of finding a man who would take care of me but let me be independent. After the last heartache, I pretty much gave up on love. I said I would be single until I got my s@$t together, loved myself and started writing seriously. I started to write everyday which made me feel joy and love myself for the creative being I was and am, and I started to take myself seriously as a writer and in my career in the hotel life. I was living my intentions as best as I could. Then my hubby showed up and there was no games, no nonsense and no waiting for the other shoe to drop. We connected and have been on an adventure of a life time ever since we met. Yes, there is work and we don’t always see eye-to-eye on things, but we always come to centre and understand we are different but the key is we talk through everything and we support one another 150%. We are in an stage of constant flow and growth. The universe provides us with exactly what is needed to maintain this amazing creative life.

One of many of my go-to quotes regarding the flow of the universe is by Jen Scenario, ‘I am one with the universe. The universe is amazing and so am I?’ YES!

Thank you for being here with me today.

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…

Sharing Snippet: Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life

I am trying to honor myself and the creative life by sharing more of my work in progress, my next hospitality memoire, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life, where I share my experiences working for luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. I pronounced at an early age I wanted to be a writer. Possibly at the age of 8 or even earlier. I always had a story in my head. I wanted to write (and still do) TV shows, movies, books and I thought I would write romance or maybe mystery, because I read a lot of romance and mystery books. I also loved watching, ‘Murder She Wrote’, and Romancing the Stone, who wouldn’t want to be Angela Lansbury or Joan Wilder?

Through serendipitous events I have been provided with life experiences that I am grateful for.

***

FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT

            Standing in the kitchen by the entrance to the main dining room of Chateau Lake Louise, the Victoria dining room, meant I was either coming or going from the kitchen.

            Going into the dining room to get whatever appetizer, entrée or desert to place in front of a couple, table of four or the dreaded table of eight or ten tourists sitting together. Too many people to keep a track of at one table. Give me five tables of two (tables for two people) and I’m good. It’s easier to talk to a couple. Couples usually are on a special occasion, not wanting to talk to me. They want to gaze into one another’s eyes.

                        Sis: Honeymooners. Ugh.

                        Marion Ann: Low maintenance is good.

            Larger tables, for example eight or ten people, meant multiple couples or family traveling together. The beloved Taulk or Princess Tours guests tend to group together when they travel weeks together. Then they decide to have dinner together, which is fine, but for servers, it’s a lot of work. The people at the table like to talk to one another across the table about everything and anything. Sometimes it was too much information.

            Guest A: Lilian, did you hear about the woman on our tour with cancer?

            Lilian: What kind. What a shame.

            Guest A: I thought you knew.

            Guest C: Who?

            Guest A: You know, the single woman who sits by herself on the coach.

            Guest C: I know her, well I don’t know her but I know of her.

On and on it goes, until I stand up straight and I speak over their noise.

            “Good evening everyone. Can I start anyone with a cocktail while you review the menu?”

I look at each of the guests as I talk, they are nodding and smiling acknowledging me. Some of them look past me or right through me as if I’m not even standing there. They don’t care.

            Guest A: Gin martini, straight up, that’s without ice, with a lemon twist.

            Guest C: Chardonnay.

            Guest B: Water is fine, I have a heart condition.

            Guest C: Shame. They say a glass of red wine a day is good for the heart. Have a glass, it won’t hurt you.

            Guest B: Who says that?

            Guest C: Doctors.

            Gust A: It’s true. I heard it as well. Go ahead, have a glass.

                        Sis: Gezus! I’ll finish it if none of you finish it.

Ten minutes later I’m ringing in the drink orders at the bar. I see one new table being seated in my section. Normally this wouldn’t happen if the table of ten is seated. But nothing is certain in the dining room.

                        Marion Ann: Seriously!?

                        Sis: Here we go!

My friend is bartending and gives me a look of understanding. I roll my eyes as I place the glasses of wine and high balls on my serving tray. The bartender is placing the martinis on another tray to follow behind me. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Before I get back to the table of ten, I say hello to my new table, they are a young Asian couple, all smiles and taking pictures of the Lake. I see the little note by their drink menu to tell me they are a F.I.T table, (A tour Individual traveller, they are travelling on their own but their meals are like any of the larger tours, soup, salad, entrée and desert, easy Frisbee services). I ask if they would like a winero or a beero and they point to the white wine on my tray. I smile to acknowledge their request.

I walk towards my table of ten who are now talking about a grandson’s wedding.

            Guest C: They spent five thousand dollars on the dress.

            Guest A: Five thousand? I didn’t spend a hundred dollars on my dress.

            Guest B: What are these kids coming to?

                        Sis: Oh my gawd!

                        Marion Ann: Deep breath.

I place the drinks in front of the right people and they all pick up their glasses and toast one another. I let them know I will be right back to answer any questions and take their order.

            Guest B: Oh dear, we haven’t even looked at the menus. Give us another five minutes.

                        Marion Ann: Shit. I hate when they do this.

                        Sis: Self-entitlement.

                        Marion Ann: High maintenance equals no tip.

I nodded and confirmed I would be back in five minutes to take their orders. I walked towards the couple with their white wines. They thanked me several times and started taking pictures again. I headed to the kitchen with my bar tray to pick up their first course of miso soup.

I walked back in the kitchen where I could stop smiling and take a deep breath. I knew the table of ten was going to make for a long evening. I over heard them trying to figure out if they should share all the appetizers.

                        Sis: Sounds like fun.

                        Marion Ann: At least I could gather more personalities to use in a story.

                        Sis: That’s a girl. Focus on the writing.

There was a reason I returned to the Lake and wanted to stay for as long as I did. Creativity provided me with the perfect surroundings to write about. The other life stuff that happened was part of the deal. The table of ten ended up tipping me more than the regular fifteen percent. They told me they appreciated my attention to detail and privacy. I didn’t do anything differently that night. I did my job. I provided them quality service, food and an experience.

***

If you would like to read more about my first memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, please click here. Thank you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Back to the Basic’s ~ For the umteenth time

A few years ago I was a disciple of Steven Pressfield’s, The War of Art. There is so much to relate to, especially with Resistance. Now I am reading Mr. Pressfields, Turning Pro, Tap Your Inner Power and create your life’s work, and right from the start I am hit hard with the truth. Before I started reading the book, I flipped through the pages because there is a message for me right away.

Art and Addiction – bam! Let’s get into now, there is no time like the present.

From The War of Art, there is a theme about resistance which resonated with me. Resistance of getting to the page as often I as I use to. I was beating myself up because I use to write for hours at a time, the was when I had an entry level job, no responsibility, except to show up, do the job and leave and leave the job at the work place for the next day.

As I started to grow in my hotel life, the distractions, the displacement activities that Steven Pressfield’s, Turing Pro, talks about, started to show.

” When we’re living as amateurs, we’re running away from our calling – meaning our work, our destiny, the obligation to become our truest and highest selves. Addiction becomes a surrogate for our calling. We enact the addiction instead of embracing the calling. Why? Because to follow a calling requires work. It’s hard. It hurts. It demands entering the pain-zone of effort, risk, and exposure.” ~ Turning Pro

Read that again. Let it sink in. I am still floating around the truth of these words. I shared how I was more productive when I had little responsibility at the day job and had more space for creativity. I was happy to be diving into my destiny as a creative being. I look back and can see the moments where my writing started to suffer, where I stopped writing for hours and was happy to squeeze in a half hour each day. I started to take on more responsibility at the hotel life, then I became a manager and the level of responsibility took over and creativity was on the side lines waiting patiently for me. This sounds like an excuse, and maybe it is, but on some other level I was possibly self-sabotaging myself even though I knew I was born to tell stories, to write stories and share them with the world.

I gave myself a swift kick in the behind and finished my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, and with the help of a great friends, self published the book over two years ago. I found a balance, I told myself that creativity comes first, the day job needed to be treated like a day job where I left work at work, and the only thing I took home with me were the guests that provided me with character development. The ego and I broke up and I knew it would be back, but I thought I knew what it looked like to avoid it again when it showed up like a bad boyfriend. The sad thing is, I saw ego coming back and I fell into the old routine of giving more attention to the job then creativity. It seemed the distractions were greater than my will to write. I moved to a new province, started a new job with more responsibility then I expected and started a farm. Where was the room for writing? This is where my sassy alter ego says, “Hello, writing always comes first!” Exactly. Creativity has to be my number one priority and buying Steven Pressfield’s book is one of the many steps of my true self getting back on track.

I will be sharing more of my writing journey for the next few weeks. This is how I started this blog and I must stay true to creativity. “It is my responsibility to share my great work with the world.” ~ Gabby Berstein

Thank you for being here with me today. How is your creative life? What are you doing to keep on track? I love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Story by Senses: Touch

I enjoy participating in Instagram writing challenges and recently I have started to follow the group #writerfriendschallenge. The first time I came across them I was intrigued by the themes, structure, and writing socials. This month there is a theme about telling stories by senses. This week was about touch. The host of the group shared her interpretation about the theme and shared fifty words to describe touch and I was instantly hit by inspiration. It was like a huge light bulb went off and I heard myself saying ‘Hello, here I am!’ Here are those words:

Arid, Abrasive
Bitter, Balmy
Course, Chunky
Damp, Dry
Etched, Even
Frigid, Fragile
Gritty, Gossamer
Hollow, Harsh
Inflated, Itchy
Jagged, Jaggy
Knotty, Knitted
Level, Loose
Mild, Metallic
Narrow, Neat
Ovenlike, Oily
Parched, Padded
Quick, Quiet
Rough, Rutted
Smooth, Scorching
Thorny, Tough
Uneven, Unbreakable
Violent, Vicious
Wiry, Wrinkled
Yielding, Youthful
Zippy, Zapped

Are they not great words to describe touch? I shared with the group after someone said that touch must be something important in my memoirs. I honestly never thought about it but at that moment I said, absolutely! The words were perfect for certain areas of my memoir, for example: The smooth and crisp table cloths we placed on the tables of the main dining room overlooking the glacier-fed lake for dinner service. The frigid temperature of the walk-in fridge always had the hairs on the back of my neck tingle to get the tiramisu for the chef to garnish to place the dessert in front of many thousands of guests served. Our uniforms could never be wrinkled or uneven, they were a reflection of the type of service provided at the prestigious hotel. I was a person who happened to be in that particular burgundy skirt, white frilly blouse, and burgundy vest that was worn by many people before me and would be worn by another young woman leaving home for the first time to work for a luxury hotel on top a mountain where she would find herself.

I am having fun with the words today! I love how one writing prompt can spark a flurry of words and inspiraiton. With that, I will head off to my work in progress and get back to the story.

Thank you for being here with me today. To find out how what working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies is like, my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, please click HERE. I share my expriences about my small world being cracked open to a new world of hospitality where rules are broken and no one to answer to for staying up late to spend time with a summer crush.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Writing & Farming ~ Can you do it all?

Life is an adventure. I am one who is not afraid to say yes to opportunities. I embrace change and the end possibilities to support this creative life. My focus up to two years ago has been my writing life. I will admit that I am my own worst critic where I placed judgment on myself for continuing to work more than full time in the hospitality world and try to self-publish my first memoir. But I did it. I stayed home when friends went out to socialize. I wrote after dinner when possible. My days off were spent in my writing room. I wouldn’t surface until I needed to move the body. I was, I am dedicated to creativity and my writing life.

It will be two years in August since we moved across the country to start our farm. My hubby is the sole visionary and I support him any way I can. I do 90% of the social media, started our Newsletter, and working on a website. I am the admin support and I love that. But, I also get my hands dirty. I love harvesting spinach and leafty greens. I am no stranger to farm life. My paternal family were farmers. I helped on my grandparents farm my memoires of picking strawberries to sell and shucking peas while sitting on the porch with my grandmother make me smile. I use to walk into the chicken pen with a bucket of feed, at first I was scared with hundreds of chicks flocking towards me, but as I learned to be still and quiet, the chicks only wanted the feed. I was just the person who happened to bring them the bucket of nourishment. Running through the cornfields and playing with bunnies fill my heart with joy. As a young girl I knew I would someday live on a farm. The intention was set. Now, here I am on our five-acre property staring out the window at our 96-foot greenhouse. Thank you universe.

The first year and a half has been focused on microgreens and we are so grateful for being welcomed into the community. We provide microgreens to a health food store, a local Co-op, and a handful of restaurants, and the biggest platform, the Fredericton Boyce Farmers Market. Now we have opened a farm stand at the farm on Saturday and Sundays. Now we are offering spinach, salad mixes, and rooted vegetables. We are growing to share our commitment and vision to provide fresh local produce to our community.

Where does writing fit into all of this? Very carefully. As I was committed before farm life, my writing is as important and a priority. My life is full. I recently shared this on my Instagram: I am a writer who happens to run an urban farm with my hubby and I am a manager of a hotel. This is my full and joyous life. This morning as we opened our farm stand I was also on a virtual writing session with some amazing women. I set up my laptop at the kitchen table and when someone stopped by to purchase some produce I left the writing sprint, did the farm thing and then back to the writing life. I am grateful for the understanding and support. After the writing session was over and the farm stand closed, the hotel life kicked in due to unforeseen circumstances. I jumped into action and when that moment was completed I started the laundry and opened the laptop again to get more writing done. It’s all a balance my friends. Some moments are easier and some are a struggle but it’s how you react to the situation and go with the flow. Today, i am reminded of how I can practice being in the moment more. For this, I am grateful.

There are days I don’t get to the writing life or the farm. I come home from the hotel life utterly exhausted from the level of responsibility I carry. The last thing I want to do is write, but I have to because it’s my true self. I can write my way into another life and to write my way out of the days events is the best way to honor the writing life. Last week I came home from the hotel life and went straight into the green house to harvest and bag spinach, it was relaxing and exactly what I needed to get my mind off the days events at the hotel. Please don’t get me wrong. I am truly grateful for the hotel life, it has provided me with endless opportuities that have and continue to provide me with what is needed to maintain and excel this creative life. Saying that there is room for all things I am passionate about. There is room for the writing and the farm life in-between the hotel life. It’s all how I approach it and go with the flow.

How do you juggle your days? Do you have a full-time job and a aside hustle or two? What’s your secret? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Elements of a Memoir

There are times I need to go back to the basics and dive into the elements of memoir writing. One of the topics I recently reviewed a memoir video series has helped keep me on track with my writing. The recommendation:

Choose four elements of high emotion for your memoir. Write about these times and see where they fit in your work in progress. I listed more than four when I sat down to start this project. The time frame I am working on for my next memoir begins with my last year working at the Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta and then I move to Jasper Park Lodge, a sister hotel that was part of the hotel chain. The four main high emotion times that came to mind quickly:

  1. Leaving the Lake where I was comfortable to move to another hotel with a guy who I believed loved me because he said he loved me.
  2. During an employee end of summer party: Being confronted by a girl who tells you she’s been sleeping with my boyfriend for the entire summer season and he told her that he was leaving me to be with her.
  3. The same night of the staff party – I find my boyfriend kissing another girl.
  4. After months of work on healing our relationship, my boyfriend tells me he is being pursued by another hotel and will be moving to Atlanta.

It doesn’t seem real when I read these choices, but they all happened. I am sure a version of each situation listed has happened to others. I am here to share that we are not alone. We all go through “stuff” and I am here to say how I coped and survived and can tell the story now.

More Tips on Writing Memoir:

  • Create a sensory experience: Use all your senses to recreate your experiences. What did you see? What smells can you associate with? What did you touch, how did it feel?
  • Use fiction writing techniques: Memoirs must be as compelling as a best-selling novel. I found that using dialogue helps build suspense. “Show, don’t tell” by describing action rather than overloading with exposition. Using fiction techniques can help you move the story along.
  • Don’t write your whole life story: Memoirs tend to be about sections of your life, for example: my first three summers working for a luxury hotel in the heart of the Canadian Rockies was my focus.  
  • Knock their pants off: Create an emotional journey. Take your reader for a ride where they want to get to the next chapter. You need to create enough tension that draws the reader in. Invest the time and energy to share the truth and raw emotion.
  • Write every day: This may sound like an obvious statement, but if you plan on writing any kind of book, the best way to do this is to write everyday. Develop a daily routine that works for you. Writing is like working out, you have to work at it to develop the muscles. You have to write everyday to get the words on the page.

These are a few reminders for myself as well. I haven’t been able to write everyday on my memoir only to my own excuse. I write morning pages every day and then three days out of the work week I will sit down for 15 minutes or so to work on my memoir. It’s 15 minutes more than if I didn’t write. I consider any times spent on writing a win.

Thank you for being here with me today. I hope you are doing well; I love to hear from you.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

How Artist Dates Improve Your Writing

Writing can be a lonely way of life. Many people, non-writers ask if I am lonely. My response: I am alone but not lonely. The writing keeps me company.

Over ten years ago I was introduced to Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. Julia and other writers have helped me stay on my writing path. What Julia has given me are tools to keep my creative well full and one of these tools is the Artist Date.

What is an Artist Date? It is a block of time that is set aside to commit to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. The date is to be some type of excursion and only with yourself. No friends, spouses, or children. This date is to be with your inner artist, they need to be taken out, pampered and listened too. The date can be in the simplest forms, a walk along the beach, a trip to an antique or music store to look, maybe your artists want to try something different, the date is to have fun and connect with your inner artists. My favourite artists dates have been going to a cafe to write. First, I sit down and eavesdropping. I love to people watch as well, but it’s easier to be sitting at my laptop typing to over hear conversations that have sparked my imagination.

Commit to a weekly artists date and watch the self-doubter show up and try and get out of the date. Watch the fear of time spent on yourself. The ego is a sneaky old behavior that needs to be put on a permanent time-out. Listen to your inner artist and have fun.

Each date will help with gilling the creative well. When we sit down and write we are taking away from the pond, therefore we need to fill it back up. The artist date will help with this. I recently took my inner artist to a local cafe; one side is the cafe and the other side is a room with cats for adoption. It’s a great business. They book hour long time slots for people to sit in the room with the cats to enjoy their coffee and spend time with the cats. I go to the cafe to sit in the cafe side but next to the window of the cat room. I can watch the cats do their thing and when a family of four enters the room, I find myself smiling more as I watch the children get excited seeing the cats. This week there were two new kittens the children were so gentle with them. I could see mom and dad tell them to be gentle. (I assume this what they were saying because the room is enclosed, with a wall of glass to separate the rooms, you can’t hear too much from the room) As the children slowly walked up to the kittens to pet them then hug them. It was adorable. While I watching the playful events, I was intrigued by a near by conversation. There were two young women sitting at another table in the cafe. One girl was sharing some texts from who I assume is a boyfriend to the other woman. The woman was not talking softly, she seemed like she wanted the entire café to hear. To me it sounded like a nice conversation between the boy and the woman. Then the rest of the conversation was about how she wasn’t sure if she was ready to commit to one person. My depleted creative well was getting its full share of images to fill to the brim. Why? Because like a mystery, I am drawn in, leads me to ask ‘what’s next?’ or ‘what if?’ If I go down this road that I don’t normally go down, what will I see? It’s an exciting process for me and my inner artist.

After I left the cafe, I witnessed my imagination moving into overdrive. I couldn’t wait to get home and write, mostly bullet points to keep the theme of the conversation. One day I will use this moment in a story, for now it is hanging out in my pond with the other ideas swimming around gaining experience, backstory, theme, plotting and eventually into a story. Oh, how I love the creative process.

Do you take your inner artist on dates? How do you commit to your writing life? What helps you fill your creative well?

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When it’s time to take a break from writing

Let’s not get too carried away here. I am not taking a break from writing entirely. I made a decision to take a break from this year’s Blogging from A to Z challenge. What is this writing challenge about? During the month of April, you are blogging through the alphabet starting with the letter A and ending with the letter Z. I recommend this writing adventure, it can kick start your daily practice of writing, but also preparing, planning, and plotting skills. I am a pantser, so this challenge helped me with plotting. I was able to develop these skills over the years to help me organize my writing life a little more. If you look at my writing desk today, that would not be the case. I have piles of sticky notes, journals, and books around me for quick references. But I still take the time to plot.

My first year in 2015, I joined the day before the challenge with no theme, no concepts, no planning. I needed to boost my word count and maintain the practice of writing every day. In my second year, I planned what I would write about but I wrote the blogs on the day. I was stressing myself out with the pressure of making sure I posted every day. For the last three years, I have been planning and writing the blogs in the month of March into the early weeks of April, and felt better about the process. This year I started to think about the challenge in February. What would my theme be and realized I didn’t have the passion to enter the challenge.

My life has changed a lot in the past two years with moving across the country to start a farm, start a new job at a new hotel, then Covid-19 really slapped a whole lot of fun on the situation. Last year I entered the contest to maintain my writing routine and to learn more about microgreens, the focus of our farm life. It was an easy fit. Years past I focused on hotel life which helped me focus on the manuscript of my debut memoir, Behind the Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers. I was toying with the idea of focsuing on the hotel life for this year’s challenge theme. I am aware I have to focus on finishing my second memoir. I know myself and it’s difficult at times to admit my isms. If I enter this challenge I will make it the excuse of why I didn’t focus on my work in progress. I have been sharing my personal affirmation lately to remind me that I don’t have to to everything to look like I am doing something.

Sometimes you have to let go, to grow.

Honesly, I feel anxious about this decions, but I have made the commitment to focus on my second book and that is not up for negoation. My true self is standing up and taking over. Will I enter the writing challenge again, yes, but for now my focus and passion in on my work in progress.

For everyone who will be participating in the 2021 A o Z blogging challenge. I wish you luck and I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.

Thank you for being here with me today.

Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…