Last night, I stayed up until midnight grading papers so I could have today free to go to the library and write.
As I showered this morning, I considered how crazy it is that I can’t get any writing done at home. My house is just one big distraction begging me to do anything but write. I’m not quite a true hoarder, but I must admit that I have let things get a bit out of hand.
I just bought a new dinette set and couch with part of my tax refund money. The old furniture left last weekend, and I was left with a huge empty space in my dining room and living room while waiting three days for the new stuff to arrive. After the first day, I was ready to cancel my order.
That huge, empty space in my house, completely uncluttered—well, let’s just say that empty space looked a little like freedom to me. (more…)
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~Flannery O’Connor.
I’m writing to you this morning from Café de Arts in Waukesha, WI. It’s a cute little café in a big, old Victorian house with a huge sunflower painted on the side. I so want to open my own business in an old house in my town and paint the house purple with a huge sunflower on the side. I even have the house picked out. It’s a foreclosure that’s been sitting empty for about three years, just calling me to buy it.
I have a dream of opening my own writer’s studio/café/bookstore where I can hang out with other writers and discuss our craft in a homey setting. I’m picturing fluffy couches with books lining the walls, and a barista conveniently stationed in a cozy corner.
I’d hang out all day, writing in my notebook in between talking story with my customers. Sometimes, I would offer writing classes and workshops for more focused work. Ultimately, I would create my own little writing community where I can plug in to my local writing scene and keep my creative juices flowing while offering the same service to others. (more…)
I’m working on a novel-writing assignment that is turning out to be far more difficult than I had ever imagined it would be. The assignment is to go to a public place, listen in on a random conversation, and write the conversation down word-for-word, being careful to capture the inflection in the speakers’ voices and imbue the dialog with the mood of the “scene” without the use of description. I thought writing the dialogue would be the hard part, but it turns out that eavesdropping on random conversations is extremely hard when you set out to do it on purpose for a school assignment.
After class Wednesday morning, I decided to stop by a small coffee shop near the school where I teach. I had never been in this particular coffee shop before and did not realize it was a Christian book store/coffee shop until I was halfway in the door. (more…)
I’m in a whining mood today, and can I just say this one thing? Free-writing is hard.
It’s not what I thought it was. I have two free-writing activities that I need to do for class this week, and the first one did not go well at all.
A good chunk of my free-write turned into me whining about how free-writing is so hard to do. But I’m supposed to write what comes to mind without thinking about it, right? And when I was doing this free-write, my thoughts about how hard free-writing is just kept taking over. So, now I’m going to whine about it in this here blog post for a few minutes and get it out of my system before I attempt to tackle the other one. (more…)
It’s hard to believe summer is over already. So much for all of that writing I meant to do this summer. I only taught one course over the summer semester, and that was online so I never actually had to BE anywhere. I did a bit of freelance writing, but the work was hard to get this summer for some reason. I had a lot of time to write, yet somehow couldn’t ever seem to get anything done. Now that I’m back to school with a full-time teaching schedule, I suddenly have all sorts of material begging to be written. It seems I need chaos in my life in order to write. (more…)
One of my students told me last semester that her mom is an English teacher, and that she doesn’t even bother trying to teach the difference between active and passive voice to her students anymore because none of them ever “get it.” What a shame.
I wonder sometimes why passive voice is such an easy trap to fall into. After all, active sentences are typically simpler than passive sentences and require fewer words. Wouldn’t you think the brain would take the path of least resistance and lead the writer to write more active sentences? Apparently not. (more…)
It happens to the best of us. We want to write more often, but life somehow gets in the way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got so many different projects in the works, I can’t seem to focus on any of them. And, I’m spending so much time worrying about getting my final project and paper written for one course, and my mid-term paper written for another, I have very little time left to write something I actually want to write.
Yes, here I am, complaining once again. *sigh* (more…)
Please feel free to skip this post, as I have nothing to say today.
One of the secrets to running a ‘good’ blog is to blog often. So, I feel the need to write something today, considering I have posted nothing since Friday. I hate when life gets in the way of writing.
I’m back to school – playing both student and teacher, for the semester – so I’ve been fairly busy lately. Not to mention the fact that my kids have been sick this week, and I am trying desperately not to get sick myself until at least tomorrow. I teach two classes on Wednesdays, so I just can’t afford to be sick today. I’ll be sick tomorrow and get well in time for my Friday morning class. (more…)
Today I’m writing a story about something that happened to me about 13 years ago. I don’t know how you feel about the passing of time, but for me, 13 years is a LONG time ago. So, I can remember major details, but some of those minor details have me questioning my memory. In this particular story, there is a nasty fight and an unfortunate incident with an apple pie. But I can’t, for the life of me, remember which happened first. Dilemma, dilemma.
So, what do you do when you’re writing about something that actually happened but can’t remember such important details? And what if you can remember the details, but the story works better if you rearrange events? I’m not writing a memoir, simply using actually happenings as the basis for a short story I’ll pass off as fiction. All names will be changed to protect the identities of those involved, of course. (more…)
I’m one course and a thesis paper away from completing my masters degree in professional writing at Mount Mary College, and I’m feeling pressed to decide on a specific career course. So yeah, I’m a writer: but what kind of writer am I? I’ve written poetry, short stories, parts of novels, but for a long time I’ve struggled to find that one niche that I am really passionate about. Until I recently discovered YA.
Okay, so I’m sure I’ve read plenty of YA novels in the past. I’ve occasionally read some of my son’s books, and he’s getting into that age range. And, I’m quite sure I read tons of YA when I was a YA myself. But until recently, I haven’t really studied the genre.
While taking my poetry course this past fall, I read Crossing Stones, a novel in verse by Helen Frost, and I just LOVED that book and form. I then read a few of her other books: The Braid, Diamond Willow, and her latest, Hidden. All great reads. I found a lot of inspiration in these books and began to wonder if I could write something similar myself. (more…)
Blogging. You wouldn’t think it would be so hard. But, I tried and tried to start blogs in the past, and they never seemed to go anywhere. Take for instance the blog I started for my now-defunct online bookstore (I still take special orders if you’re looking for anything in particular.)
The blog is still there, I could always pick it up again. My plan for that blog was to post book reviews of all the books I was reading, use those as my blog posts, and tie it in with books for sale on my website. Unfortunatly, I needed to work at a job that was actually paying and just didn’t have the time it takes to keep an online business up and running. That blog quickly fell by the wayside, along with my poor bookstore. In fact, I have an ever-growing stack of books next to my desk just waiting for me to review. And that’s nothing on the stack of books I’ve had to return to the library in the meantime. (more…)
“They” say history is written by the winners of wars. But really, history is written by writers. Writers often write to observe humanity and preserve a space in time. Seconds, minutes, years, all can be preserved by the pen. Seconds may be experienced as hours, hours as minutes. Time can be manipulated by the skilled writer, shortened and expanded at will.
And so too, can humanity be manipulated. A writer’s work leaves a mark. Whether a history book, a trashy romance novel, a dollar store paperback western, or a classic tome, all tell the story of the time in which they were written, as well as the time which they are written about. All writing serves a purpose. Sometimes our writing serves the purpose we intend. (more…)
I started keeping a journal around the age of 12. I used to lay in bed at night and write in my journal almost every evening before I went to bed. I filled notebook, after notebook, after notebook. I kept up with this practice for almost 10 years until my (now ex-) husband decided to read my journal, wasn’t happy with something I wrote, and then proceeded to burn my journal and forbid me from writing anything anymore. Needless to say, it was not a happy marriage. (more…)
Today marks the first day of the last week of the fall semester. I just finished grading a huge stack of essay booklets from my written communications course and will be grading research papers next weekend. I also just submitted my final poem of the semester for the course I’m taking on writing poetry for children and young adults. And now, it’s time to write my final reflection paper of the semester. The topic for this paper is the writing process.
So, what have I learned about my writing process? For one thing, I can now boil it all down to a few simple steps: (more…)
I am disgusted with my work today. Not the teaching, the teaching is going fine. But, my writing really sucks lately. Well, not even just lately, but for the past couple of years. I spend so much time just hacking it out, making just enough money to keep the bills paid, I don’t have any time to spare to write anything that I am truly passionate about. The bottom line is, I am unhappy with what I am doing lately, and it’s time to make a change.
I hate complainers. You want to know what crosses my mind when I hear people complain? “If you don’t like your life, do something to change it. Otherwise, shut the hell up about it because no one wants to hear it.” (more…)