Archive for the ‘Mom/Writer’ Category


Breaking Thru Writers Block: “Honey, where’s the kayak?”

August 11, 2011

I spent two weeks at the family cottage up north and was able to break through some serious plot points. KERPOW! I had been struggling with these various knotted, tangled plot nubs for some time, trying to massage and release them, and all of a sudden, they literally unfurled in my hands like rose buds. I got it!

And what was my secret, you ask?

Well, I simply hopped in the kayak, and paddled around the island to the marsh. There I would float, looking at all the water lilies bobbing on the water, listening to the wind in the trees, watching dragonflies land here and there (most of them copulating, one on top of the other) and slapping away the occasional horse fly…

The family cottage is quite remote and on a lake with only a few cottages. In the middle of the week, it’s dead quiet. Quiet enough that you can float in the water, hear nothing but nature, and think nothing but…plot.

The question is…now that I’m back in the big, bad city, how do I recapture that sense of stillness so that I can focus and work through the writing issues I need to work through?

Sure, there’s nature around here. I have a garden. The city has parks. But its just not the same. For one thing, it’s…noisy.

I know I am able to tune the noise out. In the past, I’ve proven myself an excellent mutli-tasker. If you need someone to cook, clean, come up with a character for a scene in 19th century Bath, while simultaneously writing an entry on Facebook & Twitter, reading a library book about a crime in ancient Rome, stopping a fight between a 4 & 6 year old over an old Happy Meal toy that neither really wants and asking the hubby what colour to paint the bathroom…then I’m your woman! I have done it. I CAN do it.

But sometimes I can’t. And locking myself in the bathroom with my laptop while shouting at everyone to BE QUIET just isn’t the way to solve the problem.

If only the kayak would fit in the bathtub…?


Setting Writing Goals…Again…

June 17, 2011

Well, there you have it. I wanted my novel finished by June 1st, 2011 and it didn’t happen. I wrote like a mad woman during the times I could carve out for writing in the month of May, but it wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t able to shout out over Twitter that I’d met my #writegoal, as I’d hoped.

Sniff. Moan.

Yeah, I feel guilty. I probably should have stayed up all night or gotten up at 4 am every morning to give myself consistent writing time. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who needs regular meals & 6 to 8 hours of sleep. I’m a mom and a teacher and I couldn’t show up in those roles with bags under my eyes, mumbling about regency rakes and onomatopoeia. I’m trying to strike a balance here…

Sometimes I can make time for writing, and other times I can’t! (Um…and the nice weather of late isn’t helping, encouraging all kinds of outside family fun!)

I did, however, make it from ‘the  middle’ of my novel into ‘the beginning of the end’–round of applause please. Last count, I had 12 scenes left to write…(trouble is, I keep adding scenes in! The stepping stones I need to skip across to the finish line keep growing in number like some fantastical dreamscape!).

I’ve also beat that whole ‘perfectionist’ tendency, not letting myself go back to revise or rewrite, just writing it down, just getting it down and done…

So I did make progress, more than I’ve made in any other year and in any other month. And for that I think I deserve to celebrate! (Raise a glass, if you please! Oh, and pass the cherry cheesecake!)

As to my writing goal…I’ve set another one. BY THE END OF THE SUMMER!

So, if you’d kindly keep your glasses raised, I’d like to make a toast: here’s to the endless writing pursuit, here’s to not giving up, here’s to getting back on the horse after falling off it, here’s to setting another writing goal, here’s to having *only* 12-ish scenes left…and here’s to the end of the summer!


PS. Have you set writing goals? And met them….or not? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Leave a comment below!


Magical, Mercurial, Maddening Writing

June 24, 2010

The Writing Life is unpredictable. Moody, even. One day you have a great writing day, the next day it’s crap.

I understand this. I do. It’s part of the creative process. It’s finicky and it can’t always rush forth on demand.

Right. Got it.

The trouble is…

I only have a certain amount of writing minutes in the day. I’m a mom and I have a ‘day’ job and when I can fit the writing in, I want it to be productive. I want it to happen RIGHT NOW so I can move forward in my writing goals.

None of this coaxing the coy writing to come out, priming the pump with character ‘interviews’ and revising old chapters and pretending to be my character and imagining the plot as a movie…chasing inspiration down and around the bend…as the clock goes tick, tock…and the sands of time rapidly run out…

‘Stop doing this!’ I’ll sometimes shout at the laptop. ‘I don’t have time for your shenanigans!’

And Writing just laughs at me.

Honestly. How maddening.


Drawing Blanks

June 21, 2010

I sat down to write today…to write anything: a scene in my novel, a blog, a tweet…and it was BLANK. Completely and utterly blank.

There is a moment of pure panic when this happens.

Even though I’ve been a writer for a very long time, and I understand the ebb & flow, the ying & yang, the highs & lows, the blocked & unblocked–how writing is circular, spiral, dashes and peaks & valleys but rarely a smooth, straight line–there is still a part of me that worries the writing is going to STOP.

Full stop. Never to return again.

Of course, just as I’m about to start wailing & bemoaning that ‘the writing is gone forever’…an idea comes to me….proving my fears unjustified…

At least until the next time….


Disruption is a good thing; repeat

April 19, 2010

Some writers have a specified ‘writing time’ every day where they can sit down in peace and quiet and write.

I’ve had to adapt this approach to fit my lifestyle. My method is more ‘writing on the run’. I have a laptop which I grab and use on the couch, on the kitchen counter, on my bed, on the upstairs hallway floor so I can keep an eye on the boys when they’re having a bath. I can write for five minutes, ten minutes, twelve minutes, or..gasp! forty-five minutes depending on the needs of my family and my own writing mind-zone.

(Case in point, as I was writing that last sentence I had to pause in the middle of it because my son, who is working on a craft, said: ‘I need some sticky tape’).

I have decided that disruption is good thing; it just proves how much super-focus power I have. Every time I return from a break, return from a break, return again from a break, I reaffirm my writing commitment, my desire to be there, my interest, the importance of what I’m doing for myself, because instead of saying ‘too heck with this, I’m going to go make myself a sandwich’, I’m saying ‘I’m going to write this novel even if I’m interrupted a million times!’.

So there.


Hello Universe!

April 19, 2010

I decided to start this blog because: a) I need an outlet for writer angst, b) in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously c) with the possibility of connecting with other writers like myself who somehow squeeze their passion in between BBQ hamburgers and Dora The Explorer Episodes…

I’ve been working on the same novel for about ten years (it’s finally starting to coalesce!).   I have two young boys (age 3 and 5), a part-time job as a teacher, as well as a (very helpful)  husband in my life right now. I also have two cats.

Somehow I can attend to the fact that the boys have dumped the laundry on the carpet and are using the bin for ‘a boat’, while still deliberating on whether or not my main character (Caroline) should smack Sir Milburn’s face for his grinning impertinence…

I turn 40 next year. ‘My Goal’ is to have it done by then. Any bets? Define ‘done’, I guess. ‘First draft. Fully complete.’

There.  I said it.

Now I click ‘update’ and send it out into the universe.

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