When You’re Not Writing…

I imagine writers have other responsibilities outside of perfecting their craft.

It’s a constant tug-and-war game—writing and…life. I try not to feel guilty about being one person, lacking the ability to multiply like gremlins so that I can get more accomplished; though my virtual planner these days looks like some wacky kind of road map. I’ve been busy—all over the place. Will summer break ever come? Oh right, that phenomenon ended after undergrad. To add to this, I’ve just bought a car and a house. And for anyone who’s been through the home buying process, you understand my exhaustion.

As artists, it’s so easy to get lost in our craft. Actually, most of us prefer that space—I know I do. I feel most myself when I’m creating something. I know this comes from my father. He’s a rapper. Growing up, we had a studio in the basement and he spent most of his time there. A little checked-out from the world, but when he returned he’d bring a new song with him.

Now, I completely get that obsessive passion about art. But I’m learning the importance of being present—in the moment. It’s hard to do when I’d prefer to be alone with my characters or plotting a new story. With the help of those I love, I’m learning to do both — achieve my writing goals and enjoy the special moments life offers.

When I’m not writing or reading, these are some of the things that can fill my days.

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1) I’m spending time with students—lots of them.

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2) Being a mom and volunteering at school.

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3) I like taking friends out for yummy desserts. This is Hotcakes Restaurant in

Charlottesville, Virginia and they have wonderful sweets.

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4) I take time to feel nostalgic. This is my high school. In 10th grade I had my Napoleon

Dynamite moment and danced in a talent show.

The audience cheered because they were so surprised this shy girl could break dance.

Now, I’d probably break something if I tried to spin on my head.

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5) I try to witness as many sunsets as possible. I love the sky. This is from my backyard.

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6)And lastly, in light of Fathers’ Day, my hubby got Father Of The Year. We attended a

special banquet where he was honored. So proud of him!

When you’re not writing, what are you up to? 🙂

 

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A Story to Tell

I’ve busy lately, and trying not drown in the mid-semester burnout ocean. I know,  I’m not even taking classes. However, I have two little boys so that counts as 24 credit hours at least.  And I work with students and there’s a ton going on with campus life this month and next.

The campus years are such a special time for students. As I’ve mentioned before major life decisions happen in college. During this time, one of the biggest things that students need is validation, knowing that their contributions matter and more importantly that they matter.  Without constant support it’s easy for them to indulge in self-deprecating thoughts.  And who can blame them?  Every day we are all faced with, and fighting the feelings of being less than—not enough.  I enjoy reminding young adults that they are enough, that they matter, and that their contributions are valuable.

One of the ways that has helped students see their value, (or at least the ones I’ve worked with) is by creative writing. A literary agent twitted, “Everyone has a story to tell but not everyone has the innate ability to write it.” Well, I think everyone has a story to tell and has the ability to write it the right way.

With all my business, I was able to catch a movie, Saving Mr. Banks, with a friend.  It’s the story behind the well-loved Disney classic, Mary Poppins. It’s an incredible, must see movie, for sure. Personally, I was surprised that each character in Mary Poppins represented someone in the authors’ family or something from her past. And let me say, these connections were very deep and at times sad, but beautiful. It confirmed the power of stories and how our lives and experiences tend to shape a story.  At one point in the film, Walt Disney says, “We all have our sad story. Imagine the past–how it should have been, and write it.” (not the exact quote, hopefully I didn’t butcher it too much) Because of this, I’m convinced that we all need to write more! Even the I’m-too-overwhelmed-by-classes college student should write. There’s nothing like writing what’s in our heart and seeing the proof that we are valuable as the words spill out. Because our experiences, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs matter.

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photo credit : http://allthecoloursofmylife.tumblr.com/