#FMF City

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

City

Chicago is a city full of hidden gems that people are either trying to find or to keep secret. 

Chicago is a place I have run, visited, shopped, attended field trips and each time I discover something new. I have seen the Harry Potter exhibit at Science and Industry, Monet at the Art Institute, had dinner at fancy restaurants, been to Second City and the Chicago Symphony. 

I have ridden rented bikes on the streets, got lost and carried the bike up three flights of stairs from lower Wacker trying to get back to where I started. I felt like I would be wandering forever.

I ran the Chicago marathon during an anniversary year when I vowed I never would. I should have stuck to my guns in that case.  It was a terrible race for me. I had to walk so many miles just to get back to my car and my stuff. 

I have taken Ubers, driven my own car,  and walked the concerte. I have eaten at Ed Debavacs, which is no longer there in physical space; only memories. I ate at Beard Award winning chef restaurants with friends. I have shopped the magnificent mile and frequented the Hard Rock Cafe. 

In what feels like another life, I saw Wicked, Grease and several other productions. I have taken pictures with the Bean but never ice skated. I have eaten Giordannos pizza.

My first half marathon was in the city. It was the Rock and Roll Half and the pictures only show me having fun, not racing yet. I would take it more serious after that when I got the taste of the thrill.

There is more to explore with each visit. The last trip we ate outside, found a hidden Tiki bar and stayed at a hotel that used to be the Playboy Club.

There is more history to find there and sparks to inspire my writing.

#IWSG September

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

September Question


September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

Over the years, the definition of success has been layered for me. At first, it was just to write and finish stories. Then it became about being published and I began my 100 submissions project. Then it became about teaching and sharing what I have learned.

Now it seems I am back to just the writing. It is what is fueling to me and always what it comes down to. The idea of what constitutes finished is different now though. I have to find a time that I will stick to revision. The ways of the past do not motivate me lately.

I think I bridge revision with submissions and sharing. I am not motivated by sharing my work at the present moment. Even a strict schedule I used to keep for the blog has fallen to the side and that is ok.

If I write, I am a writer and that fact will always be true.

#happyreading #happywriting

Weekend Coffee Share

Thank you for joining me for our weekly coffee chat today.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am loving my Wayhome Tarot deck. I learned about it from the Healing Thru Tarot podcast. The host is a Clinical Psychologist and I find her perspective smart.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am absorbing that my summer is now over. With the new position I am starting Monday so my summer was cut short by a week. I am thankful for the time before teachers and students come back into the building but an adjustment nevertheless. I have to pack up the books and items from my classroom and move it to my new office. Ugh, another move. I hope this is the last one.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am learning patience and how to transition back to regular life. I am welcoming new inspiration into my life like art and fashion design. It has been fueling for my writing and creative life.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am rewatching the Harry Potter movies! I loved the books and read them as they came out. I have watched them all in order in one weekend which was an interesting experience!

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am writing a story based on a tarot and writing class I am in and also with the DIYMFA Scriblandia prompts. It has been an interesting story with a hotel setting. I am struggling with the idea of having things more plotted out than normal. I always find a bit of resistance.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I am reading which was also recommended by Healing Thru Tarot. I am also reading different short stories and poems of course.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you I have kept up with my walking. The schedule will change next week due to work. The plan is to walk in the morning and when I come home.

If we were having a beverage I would tell you that I am examining the schedule in relationship to my PUSH groups. They are the weekly hour long meetings that are the heartbeat of my community. There is so much joy and energy in these meetings. We are looking at freewrites and what to do with them this month. Next month, we are starting The Artist’s Way. It will bring a great framework to the conversations.

I hope your week was amazing and full of things that bring you joy!

#FMF Accountability

accountability

There are 141 days left in 2021.

Do you have a plan?

The amount of accountability professionally raises on Monday for me. This is the first wave and then on the 23rd another professional wave of the writing variety is added. I am excited for both of these opportunities and I predict many changes in the next coming weeks and months.

I am accountable to myself more so than anything else. I have strong intrinsic motivation, but also am a rebel if you follow Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies research. I sometimes do not even follow my own plan. I have learned to listen more to my intuition and follow what lights me up. I have found this summer that means NOT doing something rather than forcing myself.

If I say I am going to do something, then I typically do it. There are cases where modifications need to be made in order for a better outcome of course.

I use a lot of lists and two planners. One planner is paper and the other digital. There is delight is checking items off a list and seeing the progress.

I keep myself accountable in writing by having a daily practice. I also give myself challenges that I have been sharing more in the last year. Almost every month has a theme in order to keep me on track and moving forward. I will be planning a 100 days project for the remainder of 2021 and am still contemplating what I want to pursue this time.

I do have to be careful to now get caught up in only wanting to check off items rather than being all in to a project. This happened with counting how many books I read in a year. I was just reading to check them off and not enjoying or immersing myself in them.

There is a small group of people I am accountable to because I respect them.

#IWSG August

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

August 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!

There are so many favorite craft books, but the one I go back to over and over again is Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.

The chapters are short which encourages me to read a bit and then get right to writing. I have noted how her last sentences are zingers as well and most of them are underlined in my stained and water logged copy.

There is a simplicity to this book that is appealing. Most of the advice centers around, “just write” which is helpful for some reason coming from her.

I am inspired by her prompts like, “I remember..” that is referenced in many other writing classes. I love the idea of her Spontaneous Poetry Booth that she sets up at a fair.

Natalie writes alone, with other people, in notebooks, and for publication. She hikes and is a Buddhist. Reading her stories make me want to write my own.

I am looking forward to reading what books appeal to other members today in the group as well!

Planners #SOL21

Each Tuesday I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog and then read and comment on at least three others posts.

There are less than two weeks left of summer for me and I feel it looming. One of the things that I had to get squared away was to order my planner for going back to school.

I am the person that makes notes and has to write everything down or it doesn’t happen.

For productivity, I use a paper planner and my Google calendar to help me stay on top of my professional to do lists. The digital more so for the notification alerts.

For some reason I struggle with the cost of a paper planner. Last year I bought at least two from big box stores trying to avoid paying the $40 for the passion planner. Collectively, I spent more than that and was irritated everyday with the one I made myself use. The spiral was all wrong and got caught on the pages often.

I am not making that mistake again.

During the pandemic there was a Passion Planner $7 sale and I was pleased as punch to be using it again. To celebrate my new coaching position I bought the academic weekly planner this year. It has shipped and I am excited for it to get here. I went with the plain black style and will decorate it with stickers.

I started color coding several years ago and blocking time out on the weekly spread. I plan to use the grids on the monthly pages for doodles or word of the day challenges as well.

As a coach, I tend to make more universal lists that I refer back to so the blank pages in the back will come in handy.

Where do you stand on planners? Digital or paper? Do you have a preferred planner type? Do you add something unique to your calendar pages?

I would love to hear in the comments.

Ponderings #SOL21

Each Tuesday I blog and post to the Two Writing Teacher Blog and then read and comment on at least three others posts.

I don’t check my school email everyday in the summer, but I am waiting for a response to something so am checking it more often. Early this morning, I saw an email from my principal that struck my heart strings to click.

As I read of the person she has become over the last 25 years in the district I knew the line that was coming next.

My principal is leaving and moving to another corporation.

This actually makes a few decisions easier for me moving forward but it still makes me sad.

###

I am more myself when I can walk every day and luckily I am in a space where I can this summer. I have been walking 10-13 miles a day and this makes me happy. I can think about writing and listen to podcast and allow ideas to come to me.

One of the podcasts I love to listen to is the MFA podcast hosted by Jared. The interview this morning is about the University of Minnesota. It was a fabulous episode.

I struggle with the desire to apply and attend an MFA program. The immersion is what appeals to me. I know I can create a DIYMFA. There is even a book and website. There is something about the time set aside for just writing and talking about writing that appeals to me. I know from past experience that you cannot always handpick the community that comes with these programs. I am so honored to have cultivated a rich community of writers I would not trade no matter what class I took!

In any of your creative writing experiences what was the book and/or the writing exercise that made a lasting impression for you?

Writing is a passion for me that existed way before I taught. The skills I learned from teaching and marketing from various professions I have had have led me to where I am now and I am so grateful.

One of my greatest joys is teaching writing to all ages.

Want to join me? I am teaching a second round of my Fabulous Flash Fiction class starting August 4th. Come join the fun! Details and registration are here.

Brevity – An Exercise in Craft

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

One of the podcasts I listen to every week is the Stop Writing Alone podcast from Nicole Rivera. Several weeks ago Nicole talked about choosing a book from your bookshelf and working through it.

I love craft books and own a lot of them. I have done a lot of the exercises in several like

Writing Open the Mind,

Wild Mind , Writing Down the Bones and the True Secet of writing all by Natalie Goldberg.

I have done almost all the exercise in Going Short by Nancy Stohlman. I also took a course with Nancy using her book.

The Rose Metal Press Flash Fiction Field Guide is also one I have done many exercises from.

One book I have dipped in and out of it Brevity by David Galef. I purchased this book on the recommendation of Nancy Stohlman in March of last year.

Ever since I heard Nicole talk about choosing a book and committing to doing the exercises in it I knew the Brevity book was the one I needed to dig into.

Today I started with the first chapter about vignettes. I like this book because there is instruction and then at least one mentor text illustrating the points of the form highlighted. I wrote a vignette that I don’t like very much but the form will be on my mind for the rest of the day.

This is not the only writing I did today. I did my five minute Friday exercise. I also did my Sarah Selecky daily prompt in addition to morning pages.

What book would you like to work through but haven’t made the plan to do so yet?

***This not only works with writing exercise books but also cookbooks! I have worked my way through a couple of cookbooks beginning to end.

#FMF Summer

Each Friday Kate shares a one word prompt for you to write for 5 minutes.

Summer

There is an ease and magic to summer like no other season. Winter is my favorite with its cold and idea of being wrapped in blankets and the heat of the fire. The heat of summer blazes onto my skin as I walk through the trees and the fields logging the sounds of red winged blackbirds and horses as I pass. But summer is the time for iced drinks and watermelon too.

There is time in the summer for flow. The flow of writing and water. The flow of time. June went so quickly this year. It always does but now we are almost halfway through July and I am not ready. The two big trips happened already and there is a small excursion again next week. There are many things to still look forward to but I am trying to savor each moment and it feels like it is on fast forward.

The summer schedule is ideal for me. My writer’s agenda for the day starts with coffee and words in the morning, then a walk, good food plus inspiration. A simple existence which I crave. Scheduled meetings for talking to friends but minimal each week. Input of all types with reading, conversation, tv, and podcasts.

This summer is about work with my subconscious. The dreams and what I hide from myself. There are essays to write and notebooks to transcribe. There are stories to revise and workshops to plan. Morning pages have started again in preparation for The Artist’s Way group I am running in September. 

July is for hosting a 10 minute daily challenge. I inspire others to have a daily creative practice. It helps align me so I hope the same for others.

I am thankful for abundance and what is next. But mostly, I am savoring this moment.

#IWSG July

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

July 7th optional question – What would make you quit writing?
The awesome co-hosts for the July 7 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Victoria Marie Lees, and Louise – Fundy Blue!

First off, how in the world is it July? The pace of the world is certainly different now that the world is opening up more.

There is nothing that could make me quit writing all together. I have tried to take breaks in the past and I always come back to it. It is my default setting. It is how I think and how I figure out what is going on in my brain that has way too many drawers open at once.

When I feel bad I go to the page. When I feel good I come to the page. I start my morning with coffee and writing every day no matter what.

The past few weeks have been rough emotionally for me and also filled with travel so the amount of writing that has been done on the page has been much less. Most days when I am in my regular routine my writing time can range between 1 hour to 4 before I go for my walk. I made sure to write my 10 minutes every morning but I felt like I was in practicing just the physical movement more. The thoughts and ideas were marinating.

I have found that the connection to my husband, my coffee, and my daily walks are vital to my creative life. It has been an interesting reflection period these last few weeks!