Happy Thanksgiving

I'm Thankful for You
Thanksgiving is the appointed time
for focusing on the good in our lives.
In each of our days,
we can find small blessings,
but too often we overlook them,
choosing instead to spend our time
paying attention to problems.

We give our energy
to those who cause us trouble
instead of those who bring peace.
Starting now,
let's be on the lookout
for the bits of pleasure in each hour,
and appreciate the people who
bring love and light to everyone
who is blessed to know them.
You are one of those people.

On Thanksgiving,
I'm thankful for you.
Happy Thanksgiving!
By Joanna Fuchs

Let's Party People!

Celebrating # 53 today with my hubby and son by going out to Ruth Chris Steakhouse and enjoying a wonderfully fattening dinner and equally sinful dessert. 

A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun.  Enjoy the trip.  ~Author Unknown

Ready for another trip around the sun.   Raising a glass to all!  ~clink~

Sunday Salon: Finding the way

Happy Sunday!  It is the official start of our thanksgiving vacation and we are free this week to do what we choose.  Well, except for me working at the shop on Monday and hubby working Tuesday and getting off early Wednesday so we can go out to dinner for my birthday. No lessons - that is the biggie.  We actually are taking  a full week off from lessons. It is a much needed break.  We will be hanging around home for Thanksgiving and the rest of the week.  

I was contemplating today what it would be like if I could take one day and use 8 hours and for 2 hours each just write, draw, edit and research.   How much would I really accomplish?  And I could do that because I have the time.  If I don't waste it.  That experiment may be happening soon. Will keep you apprised.  When I find myself browsing and reading randomly without committing, without commenting, being a shadow, a lurker, it's time to shut off the internet.  More than one hour and my brain goes passive.  I finally realized that this feeling of looking for something, needing inspiration, searching and just browsing the interwebz trying to find it, whatever it may be, is actually my subconscious telling me to get up off my butt and do something - like write or draw or read.  Or maybe my muse, my subconscious is saying listen to me and quit ignoring me.  

So trying not to ignore my subconscious and have been working on my Nano story.  I'm not going to make the 50,000 mark.  I've won 5 years in a row so I know I can do it.   I just don't have it in me this year.  But I'm not going to quit, just changed the goal that's all and  I'm currently at 13,000.  I'm trusting the process of the crappy first draft and just writing and letting the characters reveal the story to me bit by bit.  Sometimes you just gotta get yourself out of the way and quit with the self sabotage.   The year nanowrimo has turned into a reflective experience rather than an all out stressed out affair. 

James however has already written a 25,000 word fan fiction story and is currently working on a 2nd story.  He's been spending three to four hours at least writing every day immersed in the process.   I'm so proud of him.  

Reading wise, we have 6 reading weeks left to the year.  I never quite made it through my TBR pile. I think my books are having babies because the stack never gets any smaller.  I will be continuing the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge in 2013Decided I'm going to challenge myself to read more nonfiction next year, but that is a whole other story.  I've done an abysmal job of reviewing books sent to me for review the past few months so have a bit of catching up to do.   Feeling guilty about that so will try to get caught up before the end of the year. 

Be sure to check out Patrick's creativity tweets of the week - They are awesome.

Happy Thanksgiving!   Count your blessings instead of your toes for there are so many more than 10.  Just need to look for them.  

Love and hugs!!!!  

Sunday Salon: Soul searching and Inspiration

This morning I slept in and woke up feeling the need for some inspiration with writing and with life in general.  I made up a plan and a calendar  for Nanowrimo since I started late which showed I just need to write 2300 words a day and I'll make the 50k by the 30th of November. Gives me one days grace. As of yesterday I am at 6400. Still in the figuring it all out stage and wondering why I keep referring to my villainess as Dominique when I decided her name was Genevieve. Then I had an epiphany - Mother and daughter.  And something clicked.  For some reason I'm feeling a wall between me and the story, the actual writing part.  Don't know what it is. There's been a lot of ping pong going on in my brain lately. I saw this over on The Creative Penn on trusting the process of emergence and it sort of helped. 

"Even if you plot your books, sometimes you won’t know what is coming until the words appear on the page. Something happens when you commit to the page, to the word count goal and you write through the frustration and the annoyance and the self-criticism."

I'm trying to work through that and trust the process but having issues with it and I don't know why.  I walked into this whole writing gig trusting the process - basically sitting down, putting pen to paper and letting it flow.  Why can't I let go this time.   So I woke up this morning in a bit of a funk.  Mad at myself for sleeping in once again instead of getting up early to write.   Sent up a short prayer and went out to make breakfast, checked my emails and found this from Jennifer at Inkybites:

Nanowrimo Tips for the procrastinating writer Day #11:  Getting Warmed up with Exercise: If at any point during this challenge, Robin, you feel like you're getting blocked when you sit down or you can't just sit down and start right back into writing your story, try warming up first.

An athlete wouldn't think about playing a big game without warming up and stretching first. A singer wouldn't go out on stage without first warming up her vocal chords. Same goes for a writer--you have to get your creativity warmed up before you can crank out your daily word count.  

Thank you!  Along with a list of suggestions which include free writing in your journal or morning pages (which I keep going back to again and again, just not consistently) is  brainstorming - which I enjoy.  Writing prompts and exercises and reading through the last thing you wrote. All good ideas. Okay the brain is waking up now. The 2nd email is Novel Journey by Novel Rocket which I get daily and it's all about -  Today Trusting God with the Outcome: Believe in God’s miraculous power and trust in His will.

The power of prayer and the sovereignty of God are indisputable. God is God, and declaring so helps us to recognize that He governs all things. Who is to say what God can do? When we believe—with all our heart, soul and strength—and trust God with the outcome, His will is done and miracles occur. 
Just what I needed to hear. And another email that helped me to make a decision about a family obligation. 

Speaking of obligations, something else that's been on my mind lately is blogging and checking in with my blogging buddies and ROW80 friends. Synchronicity is in full bloom as someone pointed me in Amy of My Friend Amy's direction with her post about Be Someone's Comment Angel. There's been a noticeable decrease in commenting in the community and yes, I for one am guilty of that. Despite my lack of commenting, I have two beautiful comment angels in Stacie and Candace who comment on practically everyone of my posts and I feel loved and appreciate their support. Thank you, ladies. 

Amy suggests being a comment angel and picking one or two bloggers you follow and comment every single day on their posts for one month. 

Don't tell them! Just commit to yourself to do it and then do it! If you think you can handle more than one, choose two! I know it might become kind of challenging. You might not always have something to say. But the challenge is part of what makes this great...you'll be forced to read what they're saying and engage with it on a deeper level. And who knows after a month, you might not want to stop!"
 So share the love and be a comment angel for the rest of the month, then choose two more and be a comment angel for the month of December and so on and so on.  I'm up for the challenge. How about you? 

In other news, over on 52 Books blog we are celebrating Neil Gaiman's Birthday by reading one of his books this month.   I am reading all about teenage brains in Parenting the Teenage Brain: Understanding a work in progress which is actually quite enlightening.

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

The Sunday Salon.com

Sunday Salon: I'm rebelling, sort of

I'm so happy daylight savings time has ended and have gained my hour back.  I never did adjust when DST started so have been off kilter ever since time wise.  You wouldn't think an hour makes much of a difference but it actually does.  Among other things, it means an extra hour of writing and dinner will be on time for a change.  *grin*

Nanowrimo - I've been in a state, just a state of angst, anxiety and depression since Thursday.  Yep - a very weird mix.  I really, really, really want to go to town writing Green Cross but to tell the truth,  I just don't want to write crap.  I have other wips started during nano that I just haven't been able to properly edit. Do I really want  to add another one to the mix?  No.  So, while I still want to be involved in Nano, use the energy of Nano to write the story,  I'm going into rebel mode and setting my sights a bit lower than 50k.  If in the course of writing,  I somehow reach 50,000, awesome.  Otherwise I'm not going to kill myself writing crap that I don't have a clue what to do with at the end.  Nano always helps me get back into the habit of writing every single day which is a plus.  

I'm going to try a different route and edit as I go along.  I know, totally not the nano way, but I've seen where the write like crazy, don't edit method has gotten me. I needed a bit of wisdom today and found it as usual through K.M. Weiland of Wordplay.  Kathryn posted today about Your Must Have Checklist: From Idea to Publication and talked about editing as you go.   It resonated with me because I just finished the F2K Creative Writing course and it involved writing 500 to 1500 word pieces which, of course, I edited and polished to make as perfect as possible.  Because of that my internal editor really didn't want to go down into the basement. 

Since Thursday I have been writing daily but only averaging two full pages written front and page which equates to 1000 words, give or take a few.  I'll try to ramp it up a bit over the next few days.  Going to take a tip from Jennifer from Procrastinating Writers / Inkybites and stay present in the now, take it day to day and now worry about tomorrow.  

In the meantime, I'm having fun chatting with my characters, learning more about them, brainstorming and figuring out where we are going with this story.

If you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, are you writing like crazy or rebelling?   And for my non writing friends, what are you reading this week? 

Check in with my fellow ROWers here or on facebook

The Sunday Salon.com

Ready, Set, Go - Nano!!!!

Ready. Set. Go! 

Paul Coehlo's manual for climbing mountains from Like the Flowing River 

A] Choose the mountain you want to climb: don’t pay attention to what other people say, such as “that one’s more beautiful” or “this one’s easier”. You’ll be spending lots of energy and enthusiasm to reach your objective, so you’re the only one responsible and you should be sure of what you’re doing.

B] Know how to get close to it: mountains are often seen from far off – beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. But what happens when we try to draw closer? Roads run all around them, flowers grow between you and your objective, what seemed so clear on the map is tough in real life. So try all the paths and all the tracks until eventually one day you’re standing in front of the top that you yearn to reach.

C] Learn from someone who has already been up there: no matter how unique you feel, there is always someone who has had the same dream before you and ended up leaving marks that can make your journey easier; places to hang the rope, trails, broken branches to make the walking easier. The climb is yours, so is the responsibility, but don’t forget that the experience of others can help a lot.

D] When seen up close, dangers are controllable: when you begin to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to the surroundings. There are cliffs, of course. There are almost imperceptible cracks in the mountain rock. There are stones so polished by storms that they have become as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are placing each footstep, you will notice the traps and how to get around them.

E] The landscape changes, so enjoy it: of course, you have to have an objective in mind – to reach the top. But as you are going up, more things can be seen, and it’s no bother to stop now and again and enjoy the panorama around you. At every meter conquered, you can see a little further, so use this to discover things that you still had not noticed.

F] Respect your body: you can only climb a mountain if you give your body the attention it deserves. You have all the time that life grants you, as long as you walk without demanding what can’t be granted. If you go too fast you will grow tired and give up half way there. If you go too slow, night will fall and you will be lost. Enjoy the scenery, take delight in the cool spring water and the fruit that nature generously offers you, but keep on walking.

G] Respect your soul: don’t keep repeating “I’m going to make it”. Your soul already knows that, what it needs is to use the long journey to be able to grow, stretch along the horizon, touch the sky. An obsession does not help you at all to reach your objective, and even ends up taking the pleasure out of the climb. But pay attention: also, don’t keep saying “it’s harder than I thought”, because that will make you lose your inner strength.

H] Be prepared to climb one kilometer more: the way up to the top of the mountain is always longer than you think. Don’t fool yourself, the moment will arrive when what seemed so near is still very far. But since you were prepared to go beyond, this is not really a problem.

I] Be happy when you reach the top: cry, clap your hands, shout to the four winds that you did it, let the wind – the wind is always blowing up there – purify your mind, refresh your tired and sweaty feet, open your eyes, clean the dust from your heart. It feels so good, what was just a dream before, a distant vision, is now part of your life, you did it!

J] Make a promise: now that you have discovered a force that you were not even aware of, tell yourself that from now on you will use this force for the rest of your days. Preferably, also promise to discover another mountain, and set off on another adventure.