Where Does This Lead?

Where does this door lead to after you open it?

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#Everydayhappy Slice of Life #SOL18

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Thank you for Two Writing Teachers for sponsoring the SLICE OF LIFE challenge every Tuesday!

This week when I was listening to my normal podcast queue I clicked on Jenny Blake’s PIVOT podcast. This week was especially inspiring and I was super excited to listen. I made a bunch of notes for writing and for projects for students when I go back to school in August. I even started listening to the podcast again which is something I rarely do.

The guest for the interview was Dev Ajula who wrote the book 50 Ways to Get a Job. It isn’t just a book about finding a job but seems to be an inquiry into who you are. I have a reserve on the book at the library and have checked out the website that goes along with the book.

Jenny Blake is also an author. Her book is also called Pivot like the podcast. She has a great newsletter.

There are lots of great parts but one in particular is when Dev is talking about his apartment and making it personal just for him. He had visited other people’s spaces and thought it was appealing because it was more sophisticated or bigger but realized it was fine tuned to the owner. He wanted to emulate this practice so he put his chair in a space where it sits in the sun at 3 pm and sits in it. He also painted all his radiators white. Small things that made a difference to him.

On my blog I write about #everydayhappy. Those little things that just make your day but are uniquely your own. These items or actions spark joy for you.

I asked from friends this question: What makes you #everydayhappy? Little things that spark joy for you? A certain coffee mug? A certain pen?

#Everydayhappy things for me are a favorite coffee mug to drink my coffee in. I also have a certain fountain pen I adore. I love the feeling and writing in a new notebook. I also moved my coffee pot into my bedroom instead of the kitchen.

The List

Carrie: Opening up the windows in my house to enjoy the fresh breeze

Marta: My husband making coffee for me. The dogs resting in the sun. A joyful laugh.

Eva: Perfect song to match my mood coming on, more coffee left in the pot when I thought it was gone, red lipstick

Sarah: Great day texts from co-workers

Rachael: My dog leaning on me as I write

Julie: Sitting under a tree looking up through the leaves at sunlight preferably with a stream running nearby. That or a fresh notebook page…

Marian: calls the pecans out of the mixed nuts “happies”!!!!!

I am @tlbreit on Twitter and you can respond there with your own #everydayhappy ideas or in the comments below.

What are the things that spark joy for you that are personal to you? I would love to read them! I bet some of your are so good I would want to borrow them and add them to my own list.

#everydayhappy

Link to other blog post

When Do You Feel Magic??

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When do I feel everyday magic? I see magic in the eyes of children. I see magic when the eyes light up when I am reading a book and I “suck” them in. I have them on the edge of their seat leaning forward listening for every word that comes out of my mouth in anticipation of the story. I love stories and therefore so do they.

I feel magic in Christmas. The light of the Christmas tree that gives that zip of energy to your heart when you walk in the room. The nostalgia and memories of happy days and surprises. family being together and the tradition of the holiday itself. The Hygge of the season and winter itself!

I feel magic in bookstores. There is magic in all the words contained within pages on shelves. A new bookstore has a different feeling than a used bookstore. There is depth in the stories that have imprinted themselves on the worn pages of the volumes contained. They have traveled to this destination to share their experience when you take them off the shelves and bring them to a new home. Just imagine the houses, bags, and public transportation these books have been traveled. Some have gone great distances.

Bookstores in airports are always full of best sellers and magazines. I wonder if there are any people that only read on planes and only buy books at the airport. Where do these volumes go afterward? To a book lover friend? Left randomly along the travel route?

I feel magic in moments of anticipation. When I am driving home and cannot wait to see my husband. The anticipation of a nice dinner where you get dressed up and go out…or stay in. The magic moment of seeing a loved one that you haven’t seen for awhile. The moment you pick up someone from the airport.

I feel magic in a walk or run especially when you are taking a day off from work. There is magic in the air because a sense of vacation is around.

I feel magic imagining conversations with writer Lydia Davis after I read about her interactions with her friends about reading poetry and writing together. I love the feeling of the same magic that happens in my create group with my friend Jane. There was magic in journal club. I hope to find the same magic in the new writer group.

It is hard to define the pull of another person that you desire to spend time with and share. There is a small circle of people who you find emotionally nourishing that feed your creative soul, but it is definitely magic.

I feel magic when I am writing. Putting words to the page trying to get it “just right” is magic!

I feel magic in the things that catch you off guard and make you smile. The effervescence emotion that emerges in a smile you cannot contain.

When do you feel magic?

An Hour A Day…

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Shaunta Grimes is the founder of Ninja Writers. One of the articles on her Patreon (of which I am a supporter) and her Medium page is about how to change your writing in one hour a day. If you click on her name above it will take you to the Medium article.

She uses a simple acronym but it is powerful to me.

View story at Medium.com

WRITER

The idea is to do each of these 6 things for 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes…

W= Write

R = Read

I = Come up with 10 ideas a day

T= Talk to people who don’t live with you

E= Exercise

R= Regroup – review and plan

Writing and reading for 10 minutes a day isn’t normally an issue for me. I always have a notebook and book with me. If I am stuck without physical materials, I also have my phone which has my Keep app and Kindle app. Technology can be wonderful!

The I resonates with me and Julie Duffy’s idea sparks. As a writer, I am constantly observing and taking notes. I love it. It is fun for me. My notebooks are for idea gathering not really writing. The writing happens mostly on the computer. I have started writing a list of 10 ideas,  which has worked well over the last 2 days.

T is the one I have the most trouble with. I could go for days without talking to people and be just fine. I can get away with texting which technically is talking to people. (wink, wink)

Exercise isn’t an issue for me usually either. I am a runner but have been opting for shorter runs lately since I have been so tired. I am really ready for the summer break and the break from driving. I walked the dog yesterday in the sun at the park and that was satisfying. I will be running with my daughter this summer more often so that is a good pattern to get into again. I am allowing myself to walk, and not always feel the pressure to run which will help my mental state.

The regroup section is the one I am working on this week. I do this mentally sometimes, but unless it is teaching I usually do not write the goals down. I have set some monthly goals for writing so will regroup at least at the end of the week to check my progress.

Routine is an interesting concept to think about. I do love routine but I also am a rebel. Just because the routine is good for me or it’s comfortable is the exact reason I go against it. I sometimes get impatient with the routine and do not take the time to enjoy it.  I just want to get through it. It is something I am working on.

 

 

View story at Medium.com

View story at Medium.com

Become a Learning Machine

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A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” – Will Rogers

The Steps To Becoming a Learning Machine:

  1. Read
  2. Speak to people
  3. DO something
  4. Synthese what you learned
    1. Record bullet points
    2. Reread
    3. Arrive at a new understandng or a way of thinking differently

We learn through stories – other peoples’ stories especially. Reading and connections with people are how else we become a powerful learner.

“Put your stuff out there even if it sucks!” I  love this quote from Seth Godin. It cannot always be input. There has to be some output too.

Becoming a LEARNING MACHINE is how you feast on life! You learn and then you inspire. If I let my light shine, then it will allow others light to come to me and be synergistic!

 

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

 

What I Learned from Story a Day May

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I did it!!!

31 stories in 31 days!!!

It was one more than my goal. I figured I would give myself one off day. I had so much fun I didn’t use my freebie.

What I Learned From Writing Everyday…Again

I participated in StoryADAY May 2018 hosted by Julie Duffy from storyaday.org. This is not the first writing challenge I have particpated in this past year. For those who do not know, November is not only known for Thanksgiving in the US but also for NANOWRIMO — National Novel Writing Month where thousands of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in the 31 days. There are days that word count is easier to achieve than others.

Storyaday has the advantages of a Superstars forum (for a small fee) and daily prompts (for everyone). The Superstars have the bonus of videos from the creator with some further explanation.

  1. The Superstars community and writers that commented on the daily posts were great. The camaraderie was amazing and there is a bond with people who you are accountable to everyday. There is a warm fuzzy feeling when you know other people are in the same situation as you are.

The idea that others were in the same routine as I was helped to motivate my writing the couple days I was reluctant to put pen to paper. There is comfort in the idea of other people following the same crazy plan that you are!

2. I like having conversations about writing. I seek out other Storyaday writers, Twitter writers and recently joined a real life writers group. Critique is nice, but not always the conversation I want to have. Through Storyaday we had three Zoom chats with Superstars and we talked about how we write and why. It was quite enjoyable.

3. Establishing the daily writing habit is good for me and my practice. I am more creative when I do a little per day. It is thinking and planning that helps the juices flow. I was always looking for a story spark and that habit has continued past the challenge.

4. I love monthly writing challenges! I participate in the TwoWritingTeacher blog challenge in March, Storyaday in May and NANOWRIMO in November. There is also CAMPNANOWRIMO in April and July!

5. The Storyaday prompts required me to plan more. I am usually a pantser — I write from the seat of my pants. I sit and write and just let whatever flows out materialize on the page. I thought about the prompt thoroughly before diving into the actual writing which made the words flow faster. With my long commute to work, I was able to listen to the prompt direction video and then think about my story beats and write it later in the day. This method worked well even if I just constructed the first couple of sentences.

6. A joyful part of the writing process for me was being able to combine ideas for stories I wanted to write with the prompt most days. It was satisfying to take a spark I had and mold it to the prompt idea which made it more layered and interesting and therefore a better story!

7. Many prompts were so much fun or effective I will come back to them again and again. I will also use some of them with students.

  • I love the idea of taking a random list of words and constructing a story.
  • I also enjoyed telling a story from 3 different perspectives.
  • The MICE prompt was new to me and I did some extensive research for this day.(Check out the Writing Excuses podcast for a great explanation)
  • One prompts was to take a story from earlier in the month and rewrite it from a different perspective. This prompt was surprising to me. I learned so much about the secondary character! I don’t normally gravitate toward this type.
  • Using prompts is not always a “writers block” solution for me. Just using them to start writing is a favorite practice of mine.

7. The StoryADay writing podcasts are awesome and batch listening to them is inspiring. They are the only writing podcasts I listen to over and over.

8. Morning writing is more effective for my personal routine. I could write later in the day but it was slower and felt more laborious. The flow was pretty steady in the morning but I believe coffee had something to contribute.

9.Most of the month I wrote on the computer. When thinking or planning to figure out what to say, I wrote longhand or sketchnote. To get words on the page and not overthink it, I type.

Writing Goals Moving Forward

  • Continue to write daily
  • Complete at least one short story a week
  • Visit the Storyaday.org website for Wednesday prompts
  • Submit 3 pieces monthly
  • Revise at least 2 days a week to prepare stories for submission
  • Remember the conflict!
  • Revisit all the prompts from May 2018 and rewrite all new stories. It is a writing experiment to see how different the stories would be!

Simply Tuesday Thoughts…on Thursday

Simply Tuesday 3D

I am reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love her podcast the Next right thing which is what brought me to her books. I read and I hear her voice in my head which is a very good thing. There is a soothing and calming effect of her voice which is wonderful. Many of the ideas she talks about hit home for me. She is a Christian writer and so some of the “God speak” I gloss over. It is a bit much for me in spots.

In the chapter titled Community and Competition, she has a delightful story about her reaching out for some fellow creatives to meet with. She was feeling lonely and wanted some connection with real people. She formed a small group of 3 and they are called  The Artists Circle. They get together monthly at coffee shops or their houses and answer three questions:

What are you working on?

What is inspiring you?

Where do you need prodding?

This is appealing to me as such a delightful notion and I love the simplicity of the questions. These questions can also translate to so many areas. They immediately were written down into my notebook. The questions come from Todd Henry who wrote The Accidental Creative. They really hone into the springboards of a deep creative conversation.

I love when books and authors I love,  recommend books and authors they love. I have a new rabbit hole to go down now and I couldn’t be happier. Plus I have new questions which always makes me happy!

 

Come back tomorrow! I will be reflecting on my 31 Story A Day challenge and what I learned.

Fun Friday List

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Jobs I Have Held that Aren’t On my Current Resume

In no particular order:

Lifeguard

Hotel desk clerk

Residence hall desk clerk

Babysitter

Gas station cashier

Yoga instructor

Running coach

Fun Run leader

Event/Program  planner

Professional development coordinator

Bootcamp instructor

Pampered Chef consultant

Making this list was an amusing trip down memory lane! Are there jobs you have held, NOT on your resume?

Share in the comments!

Favorite Writing Advice

pexels-photo-891674.jpegMy writing group met twice this week over Zoom. I have participated in several group meetings now with this App. As long as everyone’s sound works,  it is quite effective for getting together with people, especially for introverts. I don’t have to leave the house.

The question of writing advice was part of the homework for the second meeting. My piece of go-to writing advice is you cannot edit a blank page. I tell this to my students all the time. Reading is also important especially the genre or type of writing you are trying to create.  This quote is one I have heard from many authors but if you Google it, Jodi Picoult gets the credit.

Another piece of advice is from one of our favorite writers, Ray Bradbury:

“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”

― Ray BradburyZen in the Art of Writing

 

This advice was another brought up.

Another favorite quote and piece of advice is:

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

― Ray Bradbury

I continue to write everyday. Knowing I am writing a short story everyday has me constantly thinking about ideas for stories. It is a great creative place to be in!

 

I will use these quotes as springboards for writing in my journal to explore it a bit more.

My New #1 Quick Dinner

Have you been to the Food Charlatan website? Oh my goodness! If you love great food and easy to follow recipes with great photos then you need to click here.

I have made several of her recipes,  but last night I tried the Pesto Penne Pasta with Chicken. It was simple to make with great taste! The picture below is the Food Charlatan’s from her blog post with the recipe.

 

penne pesto

A new technique I learned was to boil the pasta for 5 minutes and then add the frozen green beans to cook with the pasta for the last 4 minutes or so. It turned out perfectly.

The seasoning combo for the chicken I was a little leery of but it is delicious. It is served warm. It is all on the stove top too so it is great for a warmer day. I did use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. It is just the preferred cut in my household.

Next time I think I will add mushrooms for sure. I also thought about asparagus and peas.

I have leftovers for lunch and am looking forward to eating it again!

I am wanting to cook some more over the summer break when I have a little more time. I have several recipes from the site in the queue to try next!

Happy cooking!