My (Very New) Writing Habit

My (Very New) Writing Habit

For almost two weeks now, I’ve been doing this thing where I sit down in the same place and same time every single day, to write. I give myself an hour, because, really, that’s all I can afford most days. I’ve read enough from successful writers to know that the real work is sitting your butt down in the chair every day and, well, I wanted to figure out a way to make that work for me.

I take it quite seriously; that hour every day. Sometimes it means rushing my kid out the door (if it’s my day for drop-off) so that I can be back at my desk by 8 am. Other days it means telling my family I’ll see them in an hour and then close myself in the office. One morning, it even meant sitting in the hotel lobby while Dom slept in upstairs (and here, it should be noted that I sat and wrote in front of a lovely, warm fire).

I don’t always write for the full hour, but you can be sure my ass is in my chair that whole time. I’ve never been great at creating habits from scratch, but this one? It will be well worth it in the end.

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I haven’t really talked to many people about what I’m working on now. There are a select few who know how I’ve been spending my mornings; what thoughts are now filling my journals and notebooks, but mostly, I’ve kept it to myself. I think that, right now, while I have some inkling of what it could all be, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It needs to be something more, something bigger, before I share it with everyone.  I have a habit of jumping the gun, and I don’t want to do that this time. Not with this project. Not with these words.

These words are rebuilding me, letter by letter.

Maui: because it’s been one of those weeks, and I just want to reminisce

The last almost two weeks have been, well, kind of a mess. First, I fell down the stairs and messed up my tailbone. Then, just days later, DJ and Dom both got the worst cold they’ve probably ever had. That I didn’t catch it was a miracle. DJ missed a lot of school, Dom missed work, and I was here, working from home like I always do. It was a rough six days, to be honest.

I’m tired this morning; the kind of tired that coffee cannot fix. DJ is back and school and Dom is back at work but my mind and my heart haven’t quite caught up.

And so I wanted to look at something beautiful. Be reminded of something beautiful.

Like three blissful, child-free, relaxing days in Maui this past December.

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I’ll tell you what I want you to know

Over coffee with a girlfriend recently, I admitted that I’m a terribly private person. I didn’t give her the chance to say what most people say—“you sure share an awful lot online for someone who claims to be private”—before I set down my too-strong coffee and leaned closer, saying, “I share what I’m okay with other people knowing.”

That is to say: I’ll tell you what I want you to know. And the rest I want to keep to myself.

I share a lot more with some people than with others, as I think most people do. And there are a select few who get very little of me, mostly because I’ve learned from my mistakes. I consider myself a forgiving person. I’ll forgive you, but I’m also not going to give as much of myself to you in the future should you hurt me.

Lately I find I’m struggling with what to say and what not to say. I used to talk a lot more openly about my life, which is funny if you think about it, because my life has changed so much in the past seven years. Right now, I can think of three things I’d love to write about, but it would mean opening myself up to people I’d rather keep at bay.

So, like I have for too many years now, I stay quiet.

But I find I’m missing it; writing about my life. And I’m determined to find some kind of middle ground, some areas of my life that I’m comfortable sharing. Because as simple and slow as my life is, there is so much good in it that is worth being celebrated.

5 Photos that make me wish I’d gone to The Big Apple Author Event

I can tell you with absolute certainty that if New York were closer, I’d have gotten my butt down to The Big Apple Author Event in NYC this past weekend. Because, I mean, look at how much fun it looked to be! Some of my favorite authors all in one place–some of whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting.

These 5 photos made me wish I’d gone to the event, distance and cost be darned.

1. R.S. Grey and Renee Carlino

R.S. Grey and Renee Carlino

I had the pleasure of meeting Renee last October in Phoenix, but I would have loved to have met Rachel.

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Why it’s time for a social media detox

Starting tomorrow, I’m doing a social media detox, because—to be honest—it’s killing me. No Instagram, no Facebook and no Twitter or Snapchat (even though I’m rarely on those). I’m going to start with seven days, but I’m hopeful that I can make it much longer. Here’s why I’m doing it:

1. I need to break the comparison cycle. She has this, he has that, she wrote another book, he’s on vacation again—It. Is. Killing. Me. I’m aware that it’s my own problem, and that I have to train my mind to stop thinking this way.
2. To improve my mood. Studies show that the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to develop depression. And, as I’m sure you all know by now, I’ve been there. And I really, really don’t want to go back.
3. I need to get back to living in the moment. Picture this: my four-year-old son asks me to play and I say (with my face glued to my phone) “just one second” … and then ten minutes go by. I don’t want to be that type of mother.
4. My time is precious and should be treated as such. If I actually kept track of how often I pick up my phone and absently scroll through Instagram, I would be sick to my stomach. Literally. It needs to stop.
5. I need to re-evaluate. Why do I need to post a photo of my laptop at Starbucks so that people know I’m writing? Why do I need to share what I’m wearing, or eating, or drinking? Why do I care so much?
It’s going to be hard—there’s no sugarcoating the fact that I’m an Instagram addict. But that just motivates me even more to really give this detox a go.
So, if you see me online this week—proceed to give me a swift kick in the rear end.

3 things from the past week | 5

1. If you’re already having a weird day, don’t pour yourself a glass of wine or eat chips for dinner. Or pour yourself that second glass of wine. It’s never a good idea. You’ll feel worse in the morning, I promise you. I learned this the hard way.

2. It’s really frustrating to me that one day, I can manage to get 2,300 words written amongst chaos (I’m talking the kid running around, at my in-laws, at the coffee shop when I forgot headphones), and then the next day, I struggle to get out a measly 341 words). If you don’t already know this about me, I’m really hard on myself—so to be the kind of writer who still experiences these inconsistencies really gets me rattled.

3. I’ve been reading When You Find Out The World Is Against You and—while making me laugh and smile—it makes me think about Canada. It makes me miss Canada. It makes me smile and nod my head and yell out “YES!” (scaring my husband half to death) because here is someone who not only gets what it feels like to move to the US from Canada, but to articulate it so well also. I’m in awe of Kelly Oxford. And I kind of don’t ever want this book to end.

3 Things from the past week | 4

1. I try not to be the kind of person that imagines their life looking any different than just the way it is, but sometimes… sometimes I catch a glimpse of a beautifully dressed woman in impeccable heels getting into her Mercedes and I wonder what her week will look like. Or I turn to my husband and say: in another life, I’d live on the road, writing in a different coffee shop each day. Or I nod along when he tells me he’d love to live even a day in the life of the families that own the beach houses we passed the shoreline of La Jolla last weekend.
2. A girlfriend of mine who I’ve known online for a couple years now is writing some of the most honest, heart breaking words I may have ever read. It seems silly to tell her how brave she is for putting them out into the world, but that’s exactly what she is. You see, I worry too much about what people think of me. I always have. I wish, for just one moment, I could open myself up the way she does. I’m so lucky to know her; she’s going to do some wonderful things.

3. I’m slowly realizing that I’m going to have to be one of those writers who makes the time to write. It isn’t readily available to me. With a child and a full-time career and a husband and all the responsibilities that come along with that, I’m going to have to steal extra hours. It’s going to mean nights like Friday night when I make coffee at 9 p.m. and sit down on the couch with my laptop. It’s going to mean setting an alarm and waking up earlier than everyone else. It means continuing to steal moments here and there–like the time I waited in line at the post office for ten minutes, writing chapter notes in the Notes app on my iPhone. It means choosing, today, right now, to open up my laptop and write instead of turning to Netflix to watch the next episode of 13 Reasons Why.

But I’d choose this life over any other life. Ask me tomorrow and I’ll say the same.

3 things from the past week | 3

1. It’s been interesting, this week, to see how people respond when it comes up in conversation that Dom and I just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. We get one of two responses: either a semi-disinterested stare and a barely audible grunt (which I take as a “ha! six years is nothing, just you wait until you’ve been married as long as me and xyz”); or their face lights up in a way that makes me truly proud to have made it this far already.
I’ve been hearing all my life that a lot of marriages fall apart around year seven. I’m happy to say that Dom and I are as happy as we’ve ever been.

2. Yesterday, I started writing a short story about a woman who can’t work on her novels in public without being hit on. It’s about love. It’s about self-care. It’s about personal growth.

It’s nothing amazing yet, but the point is that I’m trying.

3. Just look at this picture, taken this week. I can’t even. This last year of motherhood has been really hard, but sometimes we have moments that seem to make it all worth it. Four has been good to us, so far.

3 things from the past week | 2

1. Sometimes I’m irrationally scared to go back and look at things I’ve written in the past. I’m worried that no matter how much I liked the writing at the time I wrote it, it will now seem somehow less than. As a writer, all I really want is to keep working and improve my skill set. To look back at something I wrote two years ago and published is scary. As such, I’ve decided to re-write my first book, Finding Lily. Wish me luck.

2. We leave for California on Saturday morning. Last year, after our three amazingly relaxing days in La Jolla, I jokingly told Dom I wanted to go back for our anniversary again next year. Well, today’s our sixth anniversary and we’ll see you in a week, La Jolla.

3. I’m entirely certain that one of my favorite feelings in life is when someone falls head over heels over a book that I recommended to them. I’ve been telling everyone I can to read The Hate U Give and smiling more and more as their positive responses find their way back to me. I love the way reading can unite people. (by the way, this is what I’m reading now, in case you’re interested).

3 things from the past week | 1

1. Does every other woman worry about turning into their mother as much as I do? It seems irrational; how much space I allow this worry to occupy in my mind. I suppose I’ve always been hyper-sensitive to what I do and say and how I act towards Dom, because what if I become her? She’s an amazing woman, but I see so much anger and dissatisfaction in her that I don’t want to carry on my own shoulders.
2. I weigh the most I’ve ever weighed in my life. I’m supremely unhappy about this and yet I have no motivation to change it. Not yet, anyway. I suppose I keep waiting for something to happen to snap me out of it and make me care… but it hasn’t happened yet.
My mother in law is obsessed with weight and appearances. She’ll be the first one to point out if I’ve gone passed the point of no return. Until then, I complain to myself each morning post-shower, but continue to do nothing about it.
3. My mother recently ran into one of my high school english teachers and told her I’d become a writer. I was shocked to know my mother had told her that. I guess if I’m not doing it full-time it doesn’t feel like the truth. But that’s silly. I’ve been a writer my whole adult life. Before that, even. It’s the one thing that has and always will ring true.