I am always curious about what others are writing in their notebooks. Are you writing stories? Notes? Snippets? Memories? Following a template of some sort? It is different for me every day.
I heard Julia Cameron talk about that morning pages help you explore what you like, what you don’t, what you want more of and what you want less of. Some mornings I use those ideas as headings.
I wrote this morning, as I always do, but I will also write later because I am taking a writing circle class. I will work on my novel rewrite later as well.
What did I write today?
A story that incorporated the words: enchanted, padded, syrup and Tahoe. [This is my #wordshare, Julie Paul, and Sarah Selecky words combined]
A list of words that begin with O
Operate was a word that I kept wanting to write over and over again so I started a snippet of a story using that word.
I pulled my 3 tarot cards for today and wrote a few lines about them
After looking at a memoir I am partially reading I wrote down lines about my Oma, a note to write about all the places I have been, a line I asked a co-worker that changed the trajectory of our relationship and a note to write about my wedding dress. [These are reminders of stories to write later.]
I recalled the dream I had and wrote down what I remember
I drew a doodle of a bunny rabbit holding a heart
I wrote some sentences about the snow and that it is -5 degrees outside. I also wrote down some details about a conversation I had yesterday
I made a small to do list of 2 items I want to get done by tomorrow
What did you write in your notebook today? I would love to hear.
In podcast interviews, I always love to hear about where stories came from in the writer’s words. It helps me to pay attention to my own life and writing moving forward.
This story ended up being a mash up of a couple of other drafts. The reindeer line in the story came from a real conversation I had. Amazon indeed does not sell reindeer. The conversation centered around a comment about reindeer in the front yard would be more festive than mowing it.
I have been to New Orleans and was affected by the energy of the town. I felt uncomfortable the entire time I was there. A strange vibe hangs in the air there and I couldn’t shake the memory of it. It had to end up in a story! When I was there, I overheard a tour talking about Love Potion number 9 in one of the shops. New Orleans is the kind of place where you walk and the buildings seem to move. We went past a little bookshop we planned to go back to and we could never find it again. [I also had the best fried chicken I ever had at Emril’s restaurant but that has nothing to do with the story.]
Over the past several years I have written various stories with dolls in them: paper dolls, nesting dolls, poppets, etc. I wondered what a character would do with a voodoo doll and what would cause her to want to order one. As I revised this story seemed to come together in all the right ways.
Thank you to Chari who gave me honest feedback which allowed me to polish the story!
Every Friday I write for 5 minutes with the word as the springboard.
Once when I was two years old I moved from the little house next to railroad tracks to a different house in a different town. I don’t remember moving, but I have heard the stories and seen the home movies. The movies were shown on the old projectors with the film that flapped when you reached the end. I haven’t seen them since elementary school. Filmstrips were used in middle school with a separate cassette tape. Time has moved on and so has technology.
The story underneath this one is that time changes perspective.
There are chunks of time I don’t remember at all. Why is that? Did shifts not happen? Am I blocking something I want to forget? Did I not have any transformations?
Once when I was eighteen I moved to college but there was no one to help me. I was the first person in my family to go to college and I do not remember any family friends that had gone either. I had to be resourceful and learn to pivot in the moment.
The story underneath this one is that I learned to depend on myself early in my life through experience, circumstance, and need.
Once when I was twenty one I moved to an apartment in a brand new town for a brand new job. “A real job” whatever that is. I don’t remember how we found the apartment and I don’t remember touring it first. I had no friends. I didn’t seem to fit. I threw myself into my work and came close to burn out in March of the school year.
The story underneath this one is that I learned extreme behavior to make changes to my life early in my career. I found a pattern that worked in the short term and followed it.
Once when I was twenty five I moved to a house I purchased. A real adult moment that left me feeling trapped. We lived there for less than a year because my Oma died and we moved back to my hometown.
I never wanted to move back there. My grief clouded my judgment and I said yes when I should have said no. It is one of the few regrets I have in my life. There are months I have no recollection of anything connected to the year 2000.
The story underneath this one is that I felt betrayed by a decision made at a highly emotional moment in time.
Once when I was forty six I wondered how much time I have lost in my own timeline.
The story underneath this one is the reason I write.
I am participating in a journaling circle later and will reflect on whatever questions Nicole poses, but I always do my own process.
What went well?
The month started well with winter break still in session. New Year’s Day felt like renewal to me which was a surprise to me.
I started the #the100dayproject earlier than the “official” program with love letters to different things in my life. It is inspired by the New York Times “Recommendations” column and Ross Gay’s Book of Delights essay collection.
Slow Novel Lab with Nina LaCour
The PUSH groups – oh my goodness how fun this turned out to be
Manifesting challenge with Gabby Bernstein
Writing every day
The writing summit from Traci Skuce – Thanks to my friend Linda I learned so much from these talks.
I figured out the top three things that really matter to me and was able to let go of some things that I was self imposing that I HAD to do.
It snowed several times this month!
Life giving conversations with friends
What didn’t go so well….
I asked the universe for opportunities and got a flood of them. I had to pivot and figure out my priorities
Early in the month I was having some anger and defense that was bubbling up in unusual ways. I had to go way back to some memories to uncover where some of these limiting beliefs were coming from.
There were days I felt quite lonely.
I got my first round of COVID vaccine – this is truly a toss up and more in a neutral category. I am thankful but also apprehensive about the unknowns.
What I Learned
I love coaching. I miss coaching in the school setting too.
Hosting live classes/workshops/conversation is where the magic is! I am so glad I switched to this format. My clients respond so much better to live than recorded sessions. I think they still have their place.
Just because I do not take every opportunity put in front of me does not mean I am ungrateful.
Mindset matters [To be fair, I did know this before but the understanding deepened in a new way for me.]
My word for 2021 is PUSH: power, unleash, significance, hope
All of these words were prominent in January. I PUSHed out the groups and new programs. I am feeling the power of my knowledge and influence and how I can use that to help the greater good. I have felt more seen and have been putting myself out there more. I sent a manuscript out this month. My newsletters have been intentional and more emotional. Hope is an underlying theme through my writing and my life.
Do you do a monthly reflection? I would love to hear about your process!
GIVE COMMENTS TO AT LEAST THREE OTHER SLICE OF LIFE STORIES
Before the end of the school day yesterday we received a communication warning about a winter storm. Now, I live in Wisconsin where winter is celebrated and we are still virtual learning so at first I thought this meant that I would just be working from home. We simply don’t have snow days here. What I was told last year is only 3 days had been called over the course of more than 30 years due to ice and power outages.
Then another email came explaining that if the day was called to inclement weather the buildings would be closed and there would be no distance learning. In this new normal, my assumption was that since we have the capacity to distance learn than that would alleviate the need for a snow day all together. Apparently, I am wrong.
The ad building called it. I am at home, in the middle of the week with a day off.
You know what? I needed it. I walk every day and yesterday my 6 miles were awful. I felt uncomfortable the whole time and normally the activity that rights me in the correct path made me cranky. I ate and had a writers call which was good but not as energizing as I would have thought. My sleep has been sporadic over the last week at least, with vivid dreams dripping like honey off my brain in the morning.
To top that off the coffee pot is sputtering and misbehaving.
I am taking the sign from the universe to rest. I slept in, I am reading, and writing. I am going to write messages to friends. I have my last PUSH group later but am so energized by these women I am looking forward to it. I am going to savor this gift of time on a Tuesday in January and not feel guilt about it.
Yesterday I changed my routine and I felt pressed for time the whole day.
When I look at the facts, I did get a lot done but it didn’t FEEL right.
I usually begin my day with writing [and lots of it] which helps me feel grounded. I worked from home yesterday but the day flew by. I was not able to write in the bed. The time between my teaching was eaten up fast while I multi tasked.
I am the woman who walks every day and I pride myself on this part of my identity BUT I didn’t enjoy it yesterday. It was sunny and I had dressed too warm. I was forcing it and it was not comfortable. I kept trying to recall the feelings of walking in the snow earlier this week but it wasn’t working. I listened to nourishing podcasts and returned Voxer messages. Everything was irritating.
I felt like I have been writing in between obligations all week. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I do this all the time but did not feel like I had a longer creative time without other interuptions.
I find at this time of the year there are at least 7 books I want to read RIGHT NOW. There are 3 of these titles coming out Tuesday. I could easily spend $150 on preorders today but that wouldn’t be smart.
There are trainings and classes galore right now. Being an input monster I want to absorb them all. I asked the universe for new opportunities and she is delivering but I am trying to discern what I NEED. A friend and I talked this week that this should be an easy question to answer but it is not.
I know this is impossible to absorb them all right now.
This morning, I woke up remembering the Storyaday Framework. Julie Duffy comes back to this resource over and over again. I normally don’t like outlines or plot devices but when I feel like I am going off the rails and around and around a spiral I fill it out. I still surprise myself with the structure if I let the pen flow.
Give comments to at least three other Slice of Life stories
I am re-examining how I think about personal rereading. I typically do not because there are too many texts to read.
Several weeks ago I heard a podcast where an author chooses a poem and reads it every day for a month to see what happens. While I listening this seemed like a novel idea…and then I sat in my classroom yesterday introducing the book The Snowy Day that we are going to reread and work with all week.
I have used this practice for years! Now I know why I was drawn to read my poem for a week rather than a month. It is a pattern I have already established!
I had to laugh at myself how I sometimes do not make the connections between my personal reading life and my professional one.
There are joys in rereading. There are things you notice after several rereadings.
After each rereading I noticed new lines that sparkled to me that I wrote down. I use them as springboards for writing. When I chose Four Hours In Paris by Cynthia Zarin [Winter 2020 Paris Review] I noticed the concepts in the poem that I was teaching in my classroom! Maps were a topic last week and those lines popped out right away.
I noticed the objects that were listed in the poem that paced the story.
I connected memories that I had not thought about for years because of the lines I pulled out of the text.
The poem started with a map and ended with the color yellow.
This week with my kindergartners we will reread The Snowy Day and we will notice different things about Peter’s adventure in the snow! If we were in person we would go outside and mimic his footprints in the snow and smack trees with sticks.
My new poem for rereading is Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Margaret Atwood.