Signs of the Weary

Weariness marks its territory all over my desk.

Paper piled up, a few stray candy wrappers, a soda half-consumed. This is weary, my weary. Long work days and nights squeezed out the life force, the vibrance. Also, the will to clean. Spread out all over the corner desk, I leaf through school work, junk mail fliers, coupons to spend at stores I don’t shop. Behind my eyes, my head aches, but I continue plodding along. Stiff muscles and hands throb reminding me of my long work day tomorrow too.  Over and over, my mind races through my schedule and where I need to be and when every one else in this family needs something or go somewhere. As if a giant calendar lived inside my mind, I berate myself with all the must do’s, the needs, the events.

Weary, no longer abstract, looks like me.

I try to write, but even then, weary creeps in and becomes my muse. Sitting at my desk, I type out words and conversations for my novel only to get my word count up for #NaNoWrimo. But weary isn’t the kind of muse I want. It sits on my shoulder and reiterates how the words I am writing break every rule touted by established writers. More importantly, writer published with books lining shelves. My muse weary points out my plot flaws, dialogue errors while whispering how my idea isn’t original or even that creative. Why not quit? Weary suggests. No one will ever read this anyways, and the muse goes on to delineate how difficult the publishing industry can be. Ruthless and hard, I should just go read someone’s else words.

Weary doesn’t show us much grace.

Some days, I buy into the lies whispered my weariness. Those graceless thoughts fester inside my head, and I allow it. Doubts follow, and soon, I sit in front of my computer about to delete all of my words–novel, blogs, all of them. Who wants to read this? But even in these moments, weary doesn’t have the loudest voice. My other muse, grace calls over weary’s brazen words. Grace doesn’t gloss over the difficulties of my craft, the industry, but Grace gives hope.

Hope replaces our weary.

Some days, I cling to hope despite weary. But I must work. To spend my time honing the craft, to write words no one will ever see, to push against all of my feelings of inadequacy–I choose which muse I will listen to. Even on those weary days, I choose to hope that tomorrow’s writing will be inspired. I choose to believe Grace’s words that I have worth, that I have a voice to speak.

Which muse are you listening to today?

 

Putting the Writer To Bed

“But I’m not sleepy yet,” whines the youngest yawning. Bed time, the most difficult part of the day for any parent. Seriously, does it really take fifty bazillion reminders to go back and brush teeth, or go back and brush hair, or go back and actually use the potty? Why, yes, it does. As if each extra stop will delay the inevitable—going to bed.

 

Some nights, I imagine how the perfect parents would put their perfect 2.4 kids to bed.My dream perfect parent/kid bed time routine:

  • Shower- Yes, wash your hair and USE soap!
  • Brush teeth- Remind both kids whose toothbrush belongs to each(stereotypically gendered colors are a life-saver!)
  • Potty- Sit there long enough so you don’t get up 20 bazillion times during the night.
  • Lights out-Almost there…I can see the end in sight.
  • Door shut- Ahhh, sweet silence…enjoy some wine now.

Can I get a yeah, right, like that will ever happen?Bed time is hodgepodge of craziness siphed into the most intense hour of parenting ever. The reality bedtime routine in my house:

  • Shower—Wait, you didn’t use soap? Get back in there! USE the SOAP!
  • Lights out—what are the chances the kids did everything before they got in bed?
  • Potty—too good to be true, here up and go.
  • Lights out—now, we can get the wine, right?
  • Brush teeth—just as I thought they are delaying again. Wine is now a must.
  • Lights out—better sit here till I’m sure the kids are sleeping.
  • Get in trouble for playing—told y’all they weren’t going to bed THAT easy.
  • Door shut—utter silence and too tired for wine.

Yes, the kids DO make it into the bed, lights out, and go to sleep.

Ahh, the silence and my time to write! Now, to sit down and crank out some amazing prose. Maybe, I’m the only one, but writing is very similar to putting a child to bed. In my mind, I have a brilliant plan to write, to create moving characters, but I need things to be just so..aren’t all writers a bit OCD about their writing? Here’s my imagined perfect writing routine:

  • Desk—neat, organized, clutter free. All of my notes labeled and ready.
  • Chair—ergonomically correct so my wrists, body, and neck are perfectly aligned for maximum comfort.
  • Laptop—again, clean and dust free.
  • Ideas—free flowing into perfect prose.

Would you care to take a guess how many times this actually happens? If you guessed zero, nada, zilch—you are today’s winner!(Note: it was more of a rhetorical question so the prize is a rhetorical prize. Just give yourself a pat on the back and move on).

What actually happens:

  • Desk—“when did my desk become the landfill for all this school crap?Aww, man, there’s glitter on my laptop again.”
  • Clean—stack clutter neatly out of sight, turn laptop upside down to shake the glitter out of the keys.
  • Chair–”where did my chair cushion go? Wonder if a writer can collect disability for carpal tunnel syndrome…”
  • Random internet search—worker’s rights and a search on WebMD. An aching wrist is a symptom of cancer? What? Aww, shit!
  • Depressed—my writing is killing my wrist, so my wrist is killing me. Walk past the freezer, ice cream cures all. Caramel, chocolate something won’t hurt…gonna die anyways.
  • Clean desk—ice cream to the right of the laptop, now writing, but how am I supposed to write with one hand and eat ice cream?
  • Time suck—well, hello, Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter and blogs and shopping and…..

Two hours later……

Ice cream gone, comments and mentions and repinned pretty things done. Actual writing, done? Well, none, cause it is causing my wrist cancer.

 

What’s your biggest hindrance to your writing goal? How can we get over it?

 

Write for Me: Guest Post

I love my virtual village.

 I love the diverse writers, artists, and conversationalists who tweet, comment, and inhabit my internet. As writer, I felt like I needed my blog to be solely my work, my words, but every so often, my words would run dry, fall flat, or just never make it on the screen. After a great deal of thought, I knew that I needed to tap into some of y’all’s creative energy.

Would you guest post for me?

On this blog, I use poetry as vehicle to talk about faith, books, and this crazy journey life. While I am fairly open to a variety of topics, please us the Contact Me Page to let me know what ideas are brewing for your post. Just put in the subject line “Guest Post.”

A few guidelines:

 

  • Practice Politeness: we may not agree, but I will never accept a post that uses hateful, insensitive language. If you have a question, just send me an email, and we can discuss it.
  • Practice Brevity: Please keep your post 300 to 500 words. This is my blog, and if I break this rule, well, it’s my blog. I will give consideration for posts longer than 500 words, but the writing must be stellar.
  • Prevent Plagiarism: Under no circumstances will I accept a post stolen from another blogger’s site. The writing must be your own work.
  • Practice Creativity: Please submit a new post, and not post you have already posted on your blog. You may link to your guest post, write a blurb, and direct your readership here. Please include a bio of yourself, links to your blog and social media pages, and a picture. Again, you must include the source and link for your picture if you didn’t take it yourself.
  • Practice Patience: I will respond to your post idea within two to three days, but just because I think your idea is awesome, doesn’t mean I will automatically let you post the finished product.

Sound good? What questions do have? Any good ideas for posts? Let me know!

10 Reasons a Small Blog is Better

 

Sarah: The Blogger of From Tolstoy to Tinkerbell

 

I’m horrible with dates. While some bloggers can remember their blog’s birthday, I’m not one of those people. But number of posts especially hundreds of posts, that’s something I can wrap my feeble brain around.

 

This is my 200th blog post!

 

Yeah, 200 posts is a lot. What’s even more amazing, I kept blogging. So many times, I cried and almost quit because my blog was “small.” Big bloggers garnered all of the social media frenzy, but once the tears dried, I realized being a small blogger has its advantages.

 

So, without further eloquence….

 

10 Reasons Being a Small Blogger is WAY Cooler:

  1. Your inbox doesn’t micromanage your life.Better yet, you don’t complain about the inbox. It sits and waits for you when you’re ready. If you want another cup of coffee before email, you drink up.
  2. Trolls haven’t found your blog—YET!Now, this point is one of the great things about being a small blogger—for me at least. You see I can blog about Mark Driscoll’s Facebook post, feminism and the church—and no trolls bother me. They are too busy with larger, more popular blogs to mess with me. A word of caution to trolls: you mess with my blogging friends, you have messed with me. Watch out!
  3. Only your mom, spouse/partner, and maybe a few close friends see your internet goof.Those misspelled words, BAD syntax, even bad information can be forgiven when you are a small blogger.
  4. You become the ninja of awkward blog related conversations. Here’s my case in point:                                          Well-meaning friend: what is it that you DO?    Me: I blog!(to be read in a chirpy, over-caffeinated Minnie Mouse voice)   Well-meaning friend:Oh____(awkward pause) do a lot of people read it?   Me: Just my mom, my husband, and maybe my dog if she could read. Here’s my blog’s URL, you should totally read it.  Well-meaning friend: Wow, the weather sure has been hot lately.
  5. Blogging “breaks” are code words for writer’s block, lack of interest, doing more interesting things—just without so much guilt. My blog equals my writing muse’s schedule.
  6. Happiness comes in small packages—a few well-meaning comments, small stats, but hey, someone’s reading.
  7. While there’s a whole world of “bigger blogs,” there are also libraries. And libraries are happy places.
  8. WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad are created equal.What’s even better, these blogging platforms are free. So, you can voice your opinions without spending money; however, like any good “free thing,” a blog does require time which is so not free.
  9. Your happiest blog moment comes from seeing your blog listed in someone else’s blogroll. Extra Happy Points if she is a small blog too.The same happy feeling comes again when others Like your Facebook page(see the right column, that’s mine—go make me happy, LIKE my blog!), Retweet your blog post, tell you that your writing sparked good conversation. All happy things, warm fuzzies, mood lifting things.

 

But most importantly,

  1. Your blog is your platform to speak. Speak well, speak often, and speak in love.

 

Here’s to another 100 posts, more good conversations full of love and grace.

Question: What would be your number 11 to why small blogs are way cooler?

 

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Give Me and You a BREAK!

We all need a break, a time of rest, a moment to tackle the mounding storm clouds of stress.king sizephoto © 2007 Windell Oskay | more info (via: Wylio)

Even bloggers need to separate themselves for a little awhile from their writing. Yes, that means me, and if you, dear reader, are anything like me then I can guarantee that you need a break too. We need breaks from our passions, our hobbies, our work.

 

For the past two to three weeks, I have absent from the blogosphere by choice. I needed to renew my writing psyche, my writing soul. Sometimes, the burdens of life don’t simply wash out of my hair at the end of the day. Some stresses linger like pale white specters in the shadows—always there waiting for the perfect opportunity to wreck havoc. This is the perfect time for rest.

 

Of course, blogging wisdom and blogging gurus tell us that no blogging kills blogs, good blogs…So does bad writing, poor mental health, and stress of daily posts. I wonder if the lack of posting kills the blog or slowly ekes out of the blogger her desire to write. What are we really “killing” if we don’t blog everyday? Our blog? Our love for writing? Our sanity?

 

So, take a break. Read books about writing(I highly recommend Bird by Bird Anne Lamont). Learn a new skill(I learned to bake with yeast. Huge baking milestone). But in the end, renew yourself.

 

Question: What do you need a break from today?

 

Women Writing Well

 

 

Today’s post is my first vlog attempt. Please be kind!

I mentioned several books that you may want to add to your collection. So, here are the necessary links to Amazon so you can purchase copies for yourself.

Sandra Bost’s book Massanutten Mansion

Rachel Held Evans’s book Evolving in Monkeytown

Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely

5 Minute Fridays

 

 

Last week, I answered the Gypsy Mama’s 5 Minute Friday prompt: When I look in the mirror, I see….

 

This week, Lisa-Jo, gives us another lovely, heart stirring prompt: I feel most loved when….

 

To participate, all you have to do is write down your answer to the prompt in 5 minutes. No major editing, revising, or unnecessary bleeding on to the finished piece(although, even as an English teacher, I never used red ink to “bleed” over students’ papers. I always used purple. Just saying for clarification). Then, link your post up on Lisa-Jo’s blog.

 

Easy, right? Or should it be write? Can you tell I’m feeling a bit punny this morning?

 

I feel most loved when….

 

Start:

 

I rub the tired morning out of my eyes, walk fifteen steps to rouse sleeping children for school. The new day opens with freshly ground coffee, muffled grunts of sleeping dogs, and the rushing around sounds of two sleepy children. Routine school day mornings with missing socks, school folders, and wet tennis shoes.

 

Alone, sitting at the computer writing, writing, writing. Always writing for others, for me, for you. Writing brings us together. Your comments strengthen me, encourage, challenge. I feel the love streaming through my virtual village. Prayers said, words of encouragement offered in 140 characters or less, kindness radiating outward from a computer screen.

 

Dark, quiet evenings curled up on the tan sofa. One Redneck Romeo and me. We talk, listen, laugh. Television provides a tool for conversations, or it goes quiet. Sometimes, we lie in the stillness and snore. Together…I feel most loved when we are together.

 

Stop.

 

 

How would you answer the prompt: I feel most loved when…?

 

 

 

A Celebration of the Fairer Sex

We know February is Black History month, and we may be aware there is a Hispanic history month.

But how many of you know whose history month comes in March???
Writing!photo © 2009 Markus | more info (via: Wylio)

That’s what I thought. Eclipsed by other celebrations of people groups excluded from the traditional historical narrative, Women’s History Month does not receive as much attention as it should. And as a feminist, I’m not cool with Women’s History month getting slighted.

This Women’s History month, I will collaborating with my friend Veronica and bloggy friend Alise in a joined effort to celebrate the unheard, under-appreciated voices of women. For five weeks, we will be exploring our women have shaped our views about ourselves, women’s rights, parenting and relationships with others, our writing style, even ways we can improve women’s rights.

For this to be a true celebration of women, we need your voice added to ours. We want to learn about how women inspired, influenced you. We invite both men and women to join our voices and celebrate the women who made us who we are. You can participate every week or pick and choose. Here is our tentative schedule for posting:

March 2: Share your personal narrative about how you became the woman you are today or how women influenced how you became the man you are today.

March 9: Our blog posts will focus on strong women/feminism. How you see each one playing out in your life, views, thoughts? Feel free to disagree, but always in kindness.

March 16: We will be sharing how feminism or being a strong woman affects our parenting style for both our daughters and sons.

March 23: We will focus our thoughts on a woman writer who has influenced our writing style or whose writing we adore.

March 30: Our final posts will look toward what still needs to be done to raise awareness about women’s rights either locally or globally. What women’s causes really need to be addressed and how would you address these issues?

Each Wednesday, we will post a linky to so we can join together our posts celebrating women. Also, if you follow us on Twitter, you can use the hashtag #CelebrateWomen to find other Women’s History month posts. We will also be passing along your posts as we read them as well.

Please consider joining our voices as we celebrate women during the month of March.

Once the Dust Settles

On top of photo © 2010 beornheard.yang | more info (via: Wylio)

Standing in Times Square on New Year’s Eve would be dazzling.

The lights, excitement whether real and liquor induced, the myriads of smiling faces, the unison of voices counting from ten backwards to one—HAPPY NEW YEAR! One brilliant, captivating moment—the whole world watches. The future visible over the shadows, the clocks ticks down. For a moment, we all have a clean slate that 2011 has muddled up with memories, regrets, or things best left forgotten. We dance in the beauty of the lights and sounds and beauty.

But what happens when the lights go out, the sun peaks over the horizon, and the tediousness of routine comes back. What do we do once the dust settles?

When I joined with other bloggers in the One Word 2011 community, I chose the word LEAP. And on New Year’s Day, I announced to all my new blog—THE LIBRARY DINING TABLE. Truly, I was living my word in that moment—leaping into an unknown. Risking failure…now, the dust begins to settle a bit. Being an English major in undergrad and grad school, I over-analyze the dust gathering around my excitement over my 2011 word. Dust of failures pasts choking out my fervor for this new year…gathering at my toes, attaching to my ankles, cementing me on the ledge of indecision. Once on that ledge, I can only glimpse the coulda, shoulda, woulda beens…

And I am terrified to get any closer to the edge, to leap once again. But I am more afraid that if I don’t LEAP I will become even more comfortable with my own mundane story…but I am still unsure of where I need to go from here, where the next LEAP will be…how it will lead me to a better story.

So, I inch towards the ledge, getting ready to LEAP…

I Proudly Introduce….

Leap of Faith

photo © 2008 Nicki Varkevisser | more info (via: Wylio)

My word for 2011 is LEAP…more than the cliché leap of faith, more than leaping fool-hardy into unplanned adventure—to leap means that I stop making excuses for why I can’t try or won’t try or stay fixed in one place. LEAP requires I shut up that nagging voice in the back of head telling me what a fool I am, how I have nothing that I can offer, how worthless my ideas are—lies all of them. To LEAP means that I risk failing, falling down, but it also means I learn more about who God is and what He can do….

So to begin my year living the word LEAP—I am beginning another blog.

The Library Dining Table

My inspiration for this blog began as I was looking for something, anything that would combine my love of food and literature. So, after months of saying this was a stupid idea, creating the blog, working on the blog only to wait until longer because I thought I would fail—this is my first LEAP.

If you are a faithful reader of this blog, head over to The Library Dining Table and SUBSCRIBE! I promise it will be tasty 🙂