Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy Holidays!

seasons-greetings2Isn’t it amazing how time flies? Here we are at December 13th, and I find myself thinking, “What happened to the first two weeks of the month?” In just one week, I’ll be flying to Canada to celebrate Christmas with family and as I prepare for that, I am finding I have very little headspace for writing and for blogging. So today I’m announcing that I’m taking a two-week vacation from my blog.

I wish all my readers a wonderful holiday season, and I’ll see you right here on my blog on January 3, 2013!


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Wednesday is Tuesday?

I-Forgot-Day-783113Early this morning I received a text message from my daughter. “What happened to blogging every Tuesday?” she wrote.  And I figuratively slapped my forehead, thinking “oh yeah, I forgot.” So thanks to my daughter, I am blogging yesterday’s blog today.

I have no excuse, really. “Write blog”  was on my list of things to do yesterday. But that only helps if I actually check my list, and my day got so busy with errands and chores and outings that I didn’t. The time simply got away from me. December is like that, really, with Christmas on the horizon and preparations to make and social events to attend. My brain is so full that it barely has room for writing, much less writing blogs.

But I’m here now. For my “Thoughts about Writing”  blog this week, I want to share a quote with you. It was sent to me by an artist friend, Jana Matusz, who is a wonderful painter. I met her in Bermuda while she was here for a three-month residency with Masterworks. We hit it off right away and became friends. She was very inspiring for my own painting. And now that she’s back home we stay in touch through the occasional email.

In her latest email to me, she mentioned that she’d been reading my blogs, and could commiserate with my challenges of staying disciplined and focused with writing. She experiences the same thing with her painting. Then she shared this quote by David Lynch:

“To get in one good hour of painting you have to have four hours of uninterrupted time.”

I think that is true for any form of art, whether it be writing, painting, music, or anything other creative endeavour. Jana comments that for her, four hours is conservative and I agree. Just because our product flows from our imagination doesn’t mean we don’t have to think hard about it, and plan, and challenge our skills. I’ve expressed in previous blogs that I tend to dilly dally and waste time for a while when I sit down to write, unable to find my focus immediately, but when I eventually manage to pull myself away from distractions I get lost in my created world and the time falls away.

So I think I need to rework my weekly schedule to plan solid chunks of four or more hours in which to write (not dilly dally) and then who knows where I can go?

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Suffering from “Grinchitis”

grinchFor some reason, I am feeling a somewhat like a Grinch this December. Those who know me would think that is very odd, because I have always been a very organized and spirited Christmas to-do list-maker, Christmas shopper, Christmas cookie baker and Christmas light putter-upper.  But this year I don’t feel like doing any of that. I haven’t even made a list of tasks to prepare for the season. The month came upon me so quickly that I wasn’t ready to think about Christmas. And now it’s December 6th and I am still not in the mood. Despite the wonderful Christmas cocktail party I attended on Saturday. Despite the coloured lights and ornaments brightening up the city at night. And despite the fact that in two weeks I’ll be heading to Canada to celebrate the season with my wonderful family.

I believe I’m suffering from “Grinchitis.” Last week I pulled out Christmas cards and as I began to compile the address list to print up labels I suddenly didn’t want to write Christmas cards this year. “What would happen,” I asked my husband, “if we just didn’t send out cards this year.” He smiled that indulgent smile of his and replied, “The world would come to an end.” So I made the decision right then and there that I wasn’t going to and closed my address book and put away the cards. (I apologize in advance to those of you who expect to receive a seasonal greeting from me in the mail.)

Perhaps my lack of Christmas spirit has to do with the realization that our family traditions have changed. Obviously part of that is because we now live in Bermuda and must juggle our schedule to travel and don’t even stay home for Christmas. But I also think my mood has to do with the fact that as time keeps charging ahead, our children have become adults. They live independent lives of their own that we try to fit into for a few weeks of the year. So our Lego Advent calendar stays in its box, our family tree decorating day no longer happens, and I must bake Christmas cookies alone.

Or maybe it’s because here in our rented house in Bermuda, I only have a fraction of my beloved Christmas ornaments and can’t put out our lighted Dickens village or make up our crazy tree. (All of that is in storage in Canada.) Perhaps my Christmas malaise is due to the thought of assembling our little four-foot artificial tree. Somehow it seems futile when we won’t be home for Christmas. Besides, until we moved to Bermuda, we’ve always only had beautiful and real Christmas trees and our little baby fake tree feels a little bit like cheating to me.

I’m not complaining, mind you. I just need to get out of my funk and get into the Christmas spirit. How do I do that?

For starters, today, after I post this, I will blast Christmas carols through my iPod player and pull out our little tree and ornaments and set up Christmas in the house. It’s a start, right?

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Balancing act

jugglingI’ve just returned from a week away. When I went to Canada I brought along my computer, fully intending to write a chapter during my free hours. Instead I went out and about visiting or I hung out with my kids or ran errands and I didn’t write a word. “No matter,” I thought. “It’s a break from my work. Even writers should have a holiday. I’ll tackle it when I return home.”

Well, guess what. I’ve been home for four days and still haven’t written anything. Between settling back in at home, social commitments, cleaning house, preparing for Christmas, and a myriad of other things that pull at me, I’ve only just remembered that it’s Tuesday and I need to write a blog post. So in the middle of making a dish to bring to a potluck Christmas lunch today (it’s in the oven), I sat down at the computer and here I am. But alas, my character Lydia still languishes.

Life is a juggling act. It’s a challenge to balance the work with the play and the housework and the Christmas prep and everything else that makes up one’s life. Figuring out how to get everything done is a daily exercise for me. And for the past twelve days, my writing has lost out.

I hope I’ll be able to find the focus to write that chapter this week, although I have my doubts. In order to get into my character’s head, I need a quiet environment, a clean desk, and a clear mind. Not to mention several hours to sit at my computer. I guess it’s all a matter of priority and how I juggle my responsibilities and commitments. This week my calendar is full and I’m not sure where to carve out those hours.

A writer friend of mine told me that what it takes to make progress in writing is to simply glue your butt in your chair and get to work. Perhaps I should listen to her. Perhaps I need to drop all the balls I’m juggling and do just that.

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