Where Was I?

file0001903436088 (1)I don’t think it’s dementia, I don’t think it’s ADD, and I don’t think I’m alone. It’s just life. We’re busy with a looooonnnng list of to-do’s (if not on paper, then banging around in our heads). Add in human nature (avoidance) and social media, and you’ve got the perfect setting for an hour of disjointed distractions.

Here’s a sample of such an hour in my life. As you can see, it always starts with the best of intentions.

  1. Coffee and Facebook. Need to wake up and see who needs prayers and whose kids are most successful. Then I’ll write.
  2. Realize I could use my time more effectively if I started a load of laundry.DSCN7331
  3. Find I’m low on Spray and Wash, look through the cabinets to find the refill jug and discover some lavender sachets I forgot I had. I need to put them in my closet.
  4. See my overstuffed closet and acknowledge I can’t fit into most of the clothes anymore, so decide to donate to charity. Pull out half the clothes, stacking them on my bed. Remember I’m not alone.
  5. Go through everyone else’s closets, creating piles of clothes throughout the house. Accept it’s a bigger load than I thought. Decide to see which charity is doing curbside pickup in the next week.
  6. Get back on the laptop, stopping to recharge coffee, and start the search for charities.
  7. Spend twenty minutes watching videos from various charitable organizations,
    going from one clip to another. Choose to ignore that Heifer International probably doesn’t want my 1980’s clothes and keep watching because they do such meaningful work.Cow
  8. Keep clicking from clip to clip. End up on Angelina Jolie. Then Brad and Angelina. Then the latest Hollywood breakups. Then the greatest Hollywood couples of all time.

My stomach growls, reminding me I need to eat. I get up, breaking my Google fog and look around. It’s been more than an hour, my house is covered with piles of dirty clothes and clothes to be donated, I haven’t started writing, and I suddenly feel a need to nap. On the upside, it looks like Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward had a strong marriage.paul-newman-and-joanne-woodward-young

Photo Credits: Signs by wedhatted; Laundry by pippalou; Cow by anusharaji; Paul and Joanne from silvervelvetsky.wordpress.com

A Writer’s Journey

My Weekend Head Trip

Last weekend I attended
Micheal Hauge’s Advanced Story Mastery Seminar. It was an intense, two-day program studying plot structure that he’s broken into six stages, looking at both the external and internal journey of the hero. Great information. I definitely recommend it for anyone with even the slightest interest in writing a novel or screenplay.

While taking copious notes and soaking in the lesson, the strangest thing happened. I took my own journey. It too consisted of six stages, or in my case, emotional check points.


1. Confidence


I’m going to learn so much and take my writing to the next level.

2. Hope


Yes! This makes sense. My story’s on track.

3. Angst

cat yawning

Oh, hell. My story is so eff’d up. I’m going to have to rewrite the whole thing. (Writer’s worst nightmare, second only to having your work ridiculed.)

4. Depression


Why did I ever think I could write? I should have taken up candle making.

5. Acceptance


Dear God, help me to accept that even if I’m not meant to be a writer, I can still put this information to use.

6. Peace


I am a writer. I may never follow the perfect structure, but I will write. And I will publish because I want my story out there. This is a personal goal, and I will achieve it.


Turned out to be an amazing weekend. I learned a lot about story structure. I came up with some specific ideas which will vastly improve my book. But my head trip may have helped me the most. Greatest lesson learned? Avoid Angst and Depression. If you see them approaching, lock your doors and hit the gas. Even if you only spend a few moments at these pit stops, it’s wasted time and horrible on your engine. Seven days later, I’m still receiving post cards from these dreaded cities, but I’m working hard to ignore them and stay in Peace – Best Destination EVER.

Look Out, They’re Coming

And I couldn’t be happier. I’m talking about future writers. I was working in a third-grade class today. They were reading a story, and the teacher stopped and asked the class to describe how the author was showing, not telling. No Way! We buy books and attend courses to learn this stuff. Third-graders are taking it in along with their multiplication facts and reading comprehension.

Now some of you younger ones may be thinking, “Poor old thing. They’ve been teaching that for years.” Maybe. I just know in 1974, in Decatur, Illinois, we were learning about subjects and predicates. I think Haiku was as creative as we got. Today, classroom walls are covered with laminated “bubbles” that describe point of view, tense, alliteration, symbolism, and on and on. Writing journals are as common as glue sticks and scissors.

And folks, it’s starting way before third. Kids are publishing books in first grade. The subject matter is often “What I Did This Summer,” but they storyboard, write a draft, go through revisions with an editor (their teacher) and then publish, which means they put their story in a construction paper jacket and get to color the pages. The best part—they get to read it to the class.

Now that’s not to say everyone will be a writer. It’s just like reading, some kids love it, others don’t. The lovers of the word are the ones that fill up four pages in their writing journals when they were only required to write one. They’re the ones that ask, “When I get my work done, can I write in my journal?”

Then there are those who haven’t yet discovered the magic of writing. They’re the ones that moan when I tell them to get out their journals. They come up to me repeatedly and ask if they have to fill the whole page. So on those occasions, like any good sub, I pull something out of my hat.

“Okay class, you and your family just moved into an old house. On the first night, you hear a strange sound coming from the basement. You sneak downstairs and walk to the basement door. Now what do you do?” I hear the “oohs” and “cools” and know there’s hope. My little writers sweep their pencils across the page. Even the students who were whining just minutes before lift their pencils and put them to the paper. Ah, success.

A few minutes later, a girl raises her hand and tells me she’s done. I walk over to read what she’s written. The page is empty except for one line:

“I would go back to bed.”

Oh well, the world will always need accountants.