April Reflection and Next Steps

What I learned in Aprilpexels-photo-974198.jpeg

88b681d61850f6ed0b63927d8f77d70f.jpg

1. Camp NANOWRIMO

Camp NANOWRIMO is a month long challenge to tackle a writing project in a month. For Camp you set your own word count goals. Regular NANOWRIMO is hosted in November where the goal is to write 50,000 words.

I did not win CAMP this year. It was my first go around with CAMP. Regular NANOWRIMO in November was successful but I discovered through writing and gathering my research to write my professional teaching book I need more time. The format still doesn’t seem quite right. The next step is to use the content as blog posts. It will serve the purpose better at the present time. I am still moving forward with the project but it will look different. I am wondering if I should start a separate blog just for the teaching/coaching pieces of my life and keep the writing and reading blog.

2018StoryADaySidebar500.pngI am not gearing up for STORYADAY May and am super excited to have joined the SUPERSTARS group. I am hoping to make some real connections to some other short story writers. I have been collecting story sparks – as always and thinking about the excitement of having a stack of short story drafts by the end of the month.

 

2. Mindset Matters

Winter is still here in Northwest Indiana. I had to shift my mindset when it came to running this month. I kept getting myself excited about running outside and then the weather would not cooperate. Finally, I had to decide that my running routine will be sprints and HIIT workouts on the treadmill. If the weather is pleasant then I would run outside, but I would look at it as a surprise or a treat rather than the expectation. This has led to much more pleasant gym visits and the workouts are consistent rather than all over the place and me being angry about it.

 

3. Reading RunDown with Links!

The Hazelwood

The Hazel Wood: A Novel by [Albert, Melissa]

Written on the Body

Ghost

Long Way Down

The Rules Do Not Apply

The Year of Less

Betwixt and Between Essays

Lillian Boxfish Goes for a Walk

On Being a Writer

Stranger in the Woods

 

4. New Podcasts with Links!

Real Talk Radio

Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Earn Your Happy

Being Boss

That What She Said

5. Favorite Podcasts with Links!

Emily P Freeman’s The Next Right Thing

Julie Duffy’s Story A Day

Rachael Herron’s How Do You Write?

Looking Ahead:

There has been a lot of planning for PD and formats for next school year. All the planning makes me excited to get started…but I have to wait. I finally had to break down and start a 2018-2019 notebook to make notes for next school year. It is going to be a great year!

Advertisements

5 On Friday!

5 on Friday

Finally Friday…I usually don’t try to wish the week away but this week has had its challenges. Big ones…whew!

After listening to the Being Boss Podcast (#173 Seasonal Work and Life if you want to check it out) I started pondering about what I traditionally do each season. For me, there are beginnings and later parts of the seasons that matter and contain different actions. The Beginning part of “SPRING” (calendar spring)  in Northwest Indiana is really winter – especially this year. For you readers who follow me regularly you saw my fire and reading picture the first day of Spring Break!

Today’s 5 on Friday is a list of 5 things I will be participating in LATER Spring 2018:

  1. I am running outside again! Not as much treadmill and more sunshine! I cannot handle wind during my runs which is why I abhor Spring marathons. Windy days I choose to suffer through sprint work on the treadmill but more sun means more longer runs outside. I ran in the Indiana Dunes National Park yesterday and it was beautiful. It did feel a bit like I was rereading a favorite book I haven’t read in years while running. I didn’t remember the details of the story but memories started coming back. There were parts of the trails I felt a deja vu feeling – like when you read a page in a book and you keep thinking it is too familiar and you already read it!
  2. Grill Regularly – this one is a little bit of a cheat for me. I do not do the majority of the cooking in my house – my fantastic husband does. But I whole heartily participate in the eating! I make a killer potato salad that compliments his grilling!
  3. STORYADAY MAY – I am estatic to participate in the official community and challenge this year! If you don’t know her site you need to check out Julie Duffy. I am kicking around joining the paid community to connect with some other short story writers. If you aren’t familiar with this writing challenge, Julie asks the writer to finish a story a day in May. You can play with the rules somewhat of course. The point is to finish the stories. I had been stuck in starting tons of pieces. I challenged myself last October which rolled into NANOWRIMO.

 

2018StoryADaySidebar500.png4. It is time to look forward to Modern Mrs Darcy’s 2018 Summer Reading Guide! I do not know when it is going to be released but I am already ready to see it! Check out her website here.

5. It is the time of year to OPEN THE WINDOWS! Of the house, of the car, of my mind!

 

What are your rhythms for the spring? What do you look forward to?

Poem In Your Pocket Day

original-1786514-1.jpgToday is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

I am carrying around Mary Oliver’s Why I Wake Early
Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields
and into the faces of the tulips
and the nodding morning glories,
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was,
dear star, that just happens
to be where you are in the universe
to keep us from ever-darkness,
to ease us with warm touching,
to hold us in the great hands of light –
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness.

By Mary Oliver
(Why I Wake Early, 2004)

 

What are you carrying around today?

How I Get Stuff Done

db4de-slice-of-life_individual

I have been listening to several productivity podcasts lately and have been contemplating what I do to get things done.

Here is my list for BE productive:

  1. I have a coffee ritual in the morning. I start my morning with my coffee and a slow movement out of the bed. If I do not do this routine I feel off for the rest of my day. The minimum time is 15 minutes
  2. I listen to my daily curated list podcasts on the way into work. I make notes of takeaways I want to remember and books or websites I want to look up later. Library holds are made if I can.
  3. I have to do a little bit of reading every day and a little bit of writing. Sometimes the writing looks like dictation into the phone app.
  4. When I arrive to my office, the projects I have to get done that day are scribed into my bullet journal and time blocks are set to work on them.
  5. For larger projects I have to get done that I’m having trouble focusing on, I will use the Pomodoro method which is extremely effective. I should use this technique more often!
  6. If I remember something that needs to be done I send myself an email from the car with a voice dictation.
  7. I feel better when I can run outside as opposed to running at the gym. The running keeps me mentally focused.
  8. My phone is almost always on silent so that I can not be distracted by it. I check it when I want to,  not when someone else deems it their priority.

What are your productivity hacks?

Poetry Friday

DO NOT TOUCH THE WATER

by: Tammy L. Breitweiser

Pixies swirl and twitter

Conjuring memories

I do not want to remember

Pixies disguised as trolls

Is what they really are.

 

Do not shatter my dreams

I scream

To no one

And everyone

I have ever known

At the same time

 

They are precious

And mine

Let me hide behind

What is really true

Do not fracture my illusion

 

I am teased by the

Pixies empty promises

Do not torment me

Leave me be

To my own fantasy

In the trees

 

One ripple on the lake

Will remind me

Do not touch the water…

DO NOT touch the water.

 

Public Note Taking #SOL18

Gretchen Rubin says: “I’m a compulsive note-taker, and I used to feel self-conscious about pulling out my little notebook and taking notes during a casual conversation. Then I noticed that people really seemed to enjoy it; the fact that I was taking notes made their remarks seem particularly insightful or valuable. Now I don’t hold myself back”

In my own note-taking life students love when I tell them I am writing something down that they have said in my notebooks.

I log quotes from my own children and my husband in the KEEP app on my phone. We collect photos and phrases from the year for Christmas albums that have become a tradition. The kids will now tell me to write something now. “Put it on the list!” is often uttered in my house.

When I don’t feel comfortable whipping out my notebooks, I can be stealthy and take notes on my phone and it looks like texting. (I get some reading done this way on my phone with my Kindle app too!)

I take notes using dictation into my phone as I am driving or running for writing or teaching and coaching. I know that I can download my brain and then think about something else!

Boston Strong

Image result for boston marathon 2018

The 122nd Boston Marathon is today. True to form for Spring marathons the weather is unpredictable. Today Boston’s weather is full of heavy rain and extreme wind.

Boston is the oldest marathon. As a runner, you are transported by bus to Hopkinton and run the 26.2 mile route to the Boylston Street finish line.

I will watch it online this year. I will not be there.

A yellow banner hangs in my sitting room in my house 965 miles away from the city. My 2012 medal hangs on the same nail. I looked at it this morning as I left for work.

This song reminds me of the race. I have made it my ringtone more times than I can remember. I will listen to it several times today.

In 2012 while on the bus, I was trying to make conversation to calm my own nerves. My year it was unseasonably hot.

During the race, I heard: “Did you run St Charles marathon?” This question was posed right before Heartbreak Hill. Another runner recognized my tattooed wings.

My thoughts throughout the marathon centered around how this could be the last marathon I ever ran and how I ok with that.

Boston was the best and worst race of my life.

My memories are bittersweet.

Sweet: It was an accomplishment to qualify repeatedly. I know many runners who never get close.

Bitter: Part of my support was standing at the mailbox that blew up the year after.

Bitter: After the finish, the chute seemed a mile long. My thoughts were, “Just give me my medal.” The water was not cold and I needed it to be cold.

Sweet: I proudly ran up Heartbreak Hill and enjoyed it!

Bitter: It felt so hot. I had come from 30-degree temps in Indiana. I had not adjusted for the change in temp when it came to moisturizer and the sweat made it run into my eyes and burned.

Sweet: I still have the shoes I ran the race in Brooks

Bitter: There was too much wait time before the race.

Sweet: I ate at the Whiskey Priest pub on the water that Sunday.

Sweet!: I enjoyed Sam Adams brew when I was there.

Sweet: Wicked is a word you hear often!

Sweet: Wellesley College screamers! You could hear them at least 1/2 mile away. Funny signage too!

 

Bitter: Reprimanded for being in Boston during a bereavement leave when my Opa [German grandfather] died.

Bitter: Watching a friend collapse

Sweet and Bitter: Dinner with my team and runner friends and still felt wrong and like I didn’t belong at Maggianos there with them.

Bitter: Driving to Boston and unable to avoid the Ohio Turnpike!

Sweet: Walking at the expo where everything was orange – the perfect year for me to be there – the jacket I love to wear!

Bitter: I ruined my official blue race shirt with white paint.

I continue to run but with different goals now. I may race again but only when I am ready. I have always run for me, and me alone even though many eyes watch!

I will watch today with my heart full of memories and remember why I love to run. Will you watch?

A Poem for Poetry Month: 12 Lines

12 lines

 

Written on 12-12-12

 

For every happy moment there is a tear

For every soup make with love there is bread broken

For every trail run there is a breath for each footfall

For every poem there is a heartfelt emotion

For every dark moment there is light

For every rock there is a story and a plan

For every fear there is hope

For every uncertainty there is a glimmer of fear

For every question there is an answer

For every laugh there is a sigh and belly ache

For every angel there is a devil

5 On Friday!

5 on Friday

 

5 Favorite Words of the Week!

  1. milquetoast – a person that is weak and submissive

  2. metastasized – spreading of cancer

  3. plethora – an excessive amount

  4. insouciance – indifference

  5. doddering – tremble or totter, typically from old age