What’s Next?

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March has been FULL. But what is next on your creative list? There are many challenges in April you can take part in especially in the areas of poetry.

One thing I am participating in is Nicole Rivera’s Happy Camper Club. It even has a snappy happy name! You may know her name from her podcast, “Stop Writing Alone.”

The Happy Camper program is a community and support that will be focusing on a different writing aspect every day.

Here are Nicole’s Words about it:

On Mondays I PlotEach Monday I will host a live web call with attendees where we will discuss plots and plans. Mondays will be for goal setting, story structure, and other discussions related to the writing project(s) we are tackling during the month.
On Tuesdays I WriteTuesday will be all about getting words on the page.  I will host write-ins, writing sprints, and provide writing boosts (mini prompts to help writers get unstuck during the word mongering of the day).
On Wednesdays I DrinkWednesdays will be for support and chat. I will host a coffee hour live webinar for the attendees to check in with me and each other concerning how their week is going so far. We will decompress, celebrate our wins, and share our struggles.
On Thursdays I EditWhether the Happy Campers are drafting or working on rewriting during the month of April, all writers need to edit at some point. On Thursdays this April, I will be sharing tips with the group that they can either use immediately, or collect to use at the end of the month. Thursday will likely be the quietest day for me as host, but the resources will be plentiful.
On Fridays I DaydreamWhat a wonderful way to enter into each weekend — stretching out into our dreamer state. How does this translate into an offering from me? For one, Fridays are the day I always share my weekly writing prompts which I hope help writers to dream big and wonderful new creations, but I don’t want to end there. Writer daydreams also consist of thoughts of their writing career, so Fridays will include inspirations and pro tips on creating their dream writing career in addition to being a day of prompts.I had a plan. I have a plan. I laughed aloud as I realized this dream of a community project was inspired by pencils. The next step was to reveal it to the community and hope that others would be as excited as I was.The group of happy campers is growing, but as April grows nearer and the coronavirus has even more writers and creatives struggling to find their community connections, I thought I would extend the invitation a bit further, to you. If you are reading this, and you are intrigued by this month long project with fellow writers seeking to rise to some writing goal or challenge in the month of April — regardless of genre, regardless of whether you are looking to draft, rewrite, or revise — then this invitation is especially for you.The early bird pricing ended, but with all of the financial curve balls people are being thrown with this social distancing, I decided to cut the regular $49.99 price down to $30, basically one dollar per day for the month of April. You’ll have lifetime access to the group and the resources shared within. Any and all video calls that happen in the group will be recorded if you can not make the live event. It is my dream that you can make connections with the other happy campers to become your own writing tribe as you grow and write together. My mission is to get people to stop writing alone, this tight knit, highly accountable community is one of the best ways I can think of fostering that ideal in real time. If you think you’d like to join me for the experiment, here’s the link to join:

You can sign up here.

I will be there! Let’s have some fun and get some writing done with new friends. I will be writing fiction, but you can work on whatever tickles your fancy. I will probably do some planning for my May Storyaday as well.

Friendship Expectations

This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. I will be posting slices from my life every day in March. This challenge is a part of the Two Writing Teachers blog. Click here to learn more information about the challenge.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones. I like to be prepared.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

The trait I value most is integrity. I want people to do what they say they are going to do. I guess this goes hand in hand with trust. No one expects a friend to betray you.

I also believe in the emotional bank account as well. Deposits are made by both parties in a relationship and both can withdraw. Just like a regular bank account, it can become overdrawn. If you hurt me before we have established too many deposits then the relationship suffers.

Friendship has traditionally been difficult for me. I have been burned by more people than I can count which is I am sure why my introverted tendencies have showed themselves more over the last couple of years.

Treasured Memories

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Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the Two Writing Teacher challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

In my life I have been blessed with lots of treasured memories within the different compartments of my life.

The first time my son laughed a real laugh.

The day I met my stepchildren and feel in love with them instantly.

Getting keys to my house.

The gift of Dairy Queen blizzards given to me as a wooing technique.

My school winning a national award and a reading program award.

The phone call that offered me my new job.

My first acceptance of a short story to be published.

Receiving notice I had secured a spot in the Boston Marathon in 2012.

Just making this list makes me feel better today!

What Have I Been Missing?

I used to be a runner. Well, if I am going to be honest that is an understatement. I became obsessed with running when I was 35. I blame the Biggest Loser show actually. I used to run 60-80 miles a week. If I could run 10 miles a day I was a happy girl.

I have always had friends that were runners and I envied them. I wanted to run but wouldn’t start. I had a terrible experience in middle school when I tried to join the track team which honestly kept me from it later in life.

I researched and started. I gave myself a challenge. I would run every day in January that year and at the end of the month if I hated it I would stop. I didn’t stop for 6 years. I ran everything from 5k races to 50 miles. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

My first race was a half marathon. I ran a marathon after 11 months of running. This is not the normal way to do things. But I loved it.

I ran at that time of my life too because there was anxiety and depression. I was running away from my life at the time. My brain has connected this anxiety to the running.

I have had several false starts over the last couple of years. I ran last summer and worked up to a 13 mile run just to see if I could do it again. That is how I ended up running 50 miles – a personal challenge to just see if I could do it.

With the virus gifting me the time to read, write, study and realign my life running has come back. I had to deal with some emotional ties to the running because of my past that I DO NOT want to relive.

Today is day 5 of running in a row. I am back again to looking forward to the runs. I have a path outside my door once again since I moved and that makes a huge difference. The air is clean here and there are hills which I love.

It is nice to nurture a new relationship with this part of myself.

I am a runner again.

Writing and Community Resource Share

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I love writing prompts. In my inbox is a daily prompt from my writing teacher Sarah Selecky. I write morning pages every day mostly according to Julia Cameron’s rules. I use tarot cards for the art for inspiration for writing as well. Last night, I even taught a class about writing and included prompts for students and for adults.

During this time there are so many of my favorite writing teachers providing free communities or classes or prompts. Here are a few of my favorites:

Caroline Donahue does an Instagram live every weekday.

Curtis Brown Creative – The Weekly Writing Workout

Sarah Selecky Writing Through Uncertainty community and daily free write

Mia at 12 Short Stories is hosting the Keep Writing challenge (a daily flash writing prompt) and is hosting a Free Writing Course.

Nancy Stohlman and Kathy Fish are hosting an Unexpected Sabbatical and providing a prompt every day. Many of from their coveted classes and are always a great writing springboard for me.

I love Paulette’s daily newsletter. There is always a little snippet about writing and then a one word writing prompt or the day.

Storyaday has prompts every Wednesday.

I am always inspired by the blog structures and formats from people in the Two Writing Teacher community as well!

Happy writing today – there is tons to chose from!

What will you write today?

If you have a favorite I haven’t listed – please let me know.

10 On Tuesday for #SOLC Day 24

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Ten Things About My Day:

  1. I started reading Garden Spells on Sunday and finished it. I have not read a novel in a long while. I am not even sure that Goodreads will allow me to open it on my phone it has been so long since I have logged in. I have been reading, just not novels. Shorts stories, essays, poems, blog posts, Medium articles. There is no loss of reading time. But with the isolation I pulled the title off the one bookcase in my house now. It is magical and just what I needed. The book was waiting for just this time in my life.
  2. It snowed. I woke up to white dustings on all the vegetation.
  3. I am loving the community started by Sarah Selecky called “Writing Through Uncertainty”. She is hosting for a month and providing daily freewriting prompts and a space to share the writing.
  4. Weekdays mean Caroline Donahue will be sharing her daily Instagram Live. I was on a Zoom call with her this weekend which was great and struck me with awe. Caroline and I have spoken through email and messages several times but never on Zoom. I got a little shy.
  5. It is Llama Tuesday!
  6. Tonight is my online class that I am teaching!
  7. I started reading “We have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson.
  8. I ran for the second day in a row – a new streak getting back into a fitness pattern.
  9. I am excited for so many prompts from people I love to follow!
  10. I interacted with several of my writing communities.
Cartoon Llama Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

I Remember…

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This month I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. I will be posting slices from my very own life every day in March. This challenge is a part of the Two Writing Teachers blog. Click here to learn more information about the challenge.

Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

Why are the terrible memories the easiest to remember? There are many of these for me as I am sure there are for you as well. One of the most terrible is when I got the call that my Oma had died. The person on the phone told me she was gone. I misunderstood and asked where she went. She had been known to be ornery and get angry at my grandfather. Her getting in the car and leaving wasn’t out of the realm of possibility.

I did not believe she was dead. I drove the 3 hours in desperation to see her at the funeral home. She wasn’t dead until I really saw her lying there.

It was April 1, 2000 when she passed away. April Fools day which she would have found amusing. I still think of her often. She sent me the scent of roses before I opened my eyes that first year anniversary.

She did not meet my son. She did not meet my husband. She did not see me move jobs or states.

But, she did see me jump off the diving board at the Y for the first time. She did see me graduate from college. She did see me get my first teaching job. She saw me do a lot of firsts throughout my life.

Is there a silver lining in your terrible memory? Is there a positive frame to learn from?

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Weekend Coffee Share

A Cup of Coffee and a Conversation

Welcome back to Sunday. What a week this has been. How are you holding up? How is the wheel of emotions treating you?

If we were having coffee I would tell you this was the first week I had no school. When I left school last Friday the plan was to have school until at least Wednesday, then the plan changed by Monday. I have enjoyed the time of rest, learning and connecting.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I moved this weekend. It had been a long preparation and I am glad for it now. One more errand to the old house to get some things but 99% of the items are moved.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. I revised a lot and sent pieces out. I connected with several writing groups this week on Zoom which was lovely time spent.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went through my camera roll and was able to reminisce about all the activities we have planned for the kids at the houses we have lived in. American Ninja warrior courses set up in the house, scavenger hunts, dinners, games, picture concentration, and slime. Oh my goodness the slime. We went through a phase where we were making it at least once a week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you my writing mentor Caroline Donahue has been sending videos through Instagram that have made my day all week. Friday she talked about using tarot for her writing. It was a great reminder and brought warmth to my heart. I know she isn’t the most comfortable with the format but I appreciate it so much. She is hosting a Zoom call on Sunday and I am looking forward to that conversation.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I went for a nice walk yesterday. The sun was shining and the air was chilly. I am considering running again. I will have to work up to the distances I have run before.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I am skeptical about it being spring. I know the calendar says it is but it doesn’t feel like it to me. It might be the virus isolation, forgetting what day of the week it is, or just resistance to the transition. I do love winter and the coziness and hygge of that season.

What are you thinking about this week? Do you have any coping strategies for being shut-in?

A Question of Childhood

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Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.

As part of the Twowritingteachers.org challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.

My childhood was not full of trauma and I was privileged. My parents have stayed together which was unusual among my friends. When I was little I spent a lot of time at my maternal grandparents. Every vacation and weekend was spent with them til the summer of my 8th grade year in school.

I also spent the majority of my time from age 2.5 to 5 at my Oma’s house. That is my recollection anyway. I had friends in the neighborhood I played with outside every day. They all thought I lived there permanently. I did too. Whenever I went “home” it always felt like I was visiting my parents just waiting to go back to Oma’s.

When it came time for me to go to kindergarten I was upset that I had to go to school in my parent’s town, not my grandparents.

At this point in my life I wish I would have started and continued my school life in my grandparents town. My life would have turned out a lot differently if I had followed that path. When my friends found out I was coming to school with them, the relationship changed. There was a lot I missed out on being there on the weekends after school started.

I cannot go back to that time and the decision was not mine to make but it would have been interesting to see the trajectory if that was the path had been chosen for me.