Tag Archives: writer’s life

A writer never has a vacation…

“For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.” -Eugene Ionseco

I have decided, in my infinite wisdom and spare time between mothering, wifery, teaching, and studenting, to start writing my first novel. Wait, no. That is not accurate. Anyone who writes knows that this is not our decision. It is someone else’s entirely. In my case, Sarah and Charlotte. I blame those two knuckleheaded teenagers who just couldn’t wait to bust out of my head and onto paper. Their stories have already taken me on some whirlwinds. In the earlier days of the project, Sarah came to me as I was falling asleep, and she showed me that I was writing her story improperly. She showed me something I had not even considered, but I have to go with it. So I rewrote parts, and I am off and running. I have gotten some amazing feedback from some clutch readers, and I am itching to sit with it and use their suggestions to fix it and continue forth. Writing is so goddamned fun; it should be illegal.

I know I talk a lot about writing on here, but I think it’s because it is such an important thing in my life. It saved my life. It helped me create friends in school when I had very few. It helped me create ways to cope with devastating loss. There has not been an event in my life, good or bad, that I did not deal with without writing. Not one. Writing is who I am, what I do, and why I am here. It is all for the writing. I am truly a slave to it most of the time, even when I am not actively writing something. Ideas and characters don’t just go away because I don’t have time to let them out. They sit there and play, stirring up a ruckus, loudly, in my brain. They don’t care. They just exist to give me something to write about. I have a list of blog topics to eventually get to in my phone’s evernotes because if I don’t write them down, new ideas take over. I often forget to eat and drink if I am writing. I forget to go to the bathroom, and I end up feeling like a total slog. But I LOVE the slog. Writing is it, my friends. It. Is. It.

Except, writing is kind of killing my drive to do anything BUT write. I can’t lie, I have more motivation to write than to do most anything else. I can see why people take sabbaticals from teaching and working when they are writing. The energy isn’t there to do both well. I am trying, and I am doing ok, but I really feel like this is what will become my first published novel, and I know that when that time comes to buckle down on things more seriously, it will be hard to be able to focus on teaching, family, and writing. But I am pretty damn good at multitasking. So we will see when time comes. I am balancing always, now, aren’t I?

I was told today at my family reunion (totally unprovoked and not expected at all) that I am a phenomenal, awesome, amazing (more positive adjectives that I forget) writer. I was also told I have a way with words, and I will no doubt be published. When I replied that I would say that I work hard at it, but I’d be lying because the words just come out of me, I was told that it is obvious in my writing that it is natural and without a lot of effort. I’m “just that good”. There was a lot of praise coming from my cousin, and I was really struck by the sincerity and impressed that someone takes an interest in my writing. It is humbling to hear praise from anyone about what I do, but to hear it so candidly and open like I did today was really something I will never forget. I didn’t expect to hear that, but I am glad that I did. I’ve never doubted my ability to throw down with words. But it is good that people close to me read this little piece of my Universe and feel the need to tell me, in person, that they appreciate my work.

All I have ever wanted to be, for as long as I can remember, is a writer. It is the one thing I have consistently done well my entire life. From term papers to poetry, grant writing to creative nonfiction, I do all of it with relative ease. Writing is the one high I have always had, has always been my number one best friend, and will continue to be the one thing in my life I can count on more than anything. I am so excited to see where my novel project takes me. In many ways, it has taken over..and I can’t wait to see where it leads me!!

Writing is my life, my constant, the loudness in my brain…
The only thing that makes sense to do, no matter what,
images79I0MAU4 (2)

Without writing, I wouldn’t exist.

A little housekeeping is in order…

So, fine followers and readers of this little piece of cyberspace, I have good news. No, no, I am not having another baby. This is better than that! *drum roll, Maestro….*

I am changing this domain name!! Woot!! Soon, I will no longer be babycakesandwafflefries.org. I am going to switch it to something more suitable now to my lifestyle since I have more than two children. As you may remember, babycakesandwafflefries came from the nicknames I gave my two, now oldest and middle, daughters. With the birth and addition of Finola as our third, I have decided it’s time for a facelift on the old domain name. Keep posted to get the new name so as not to miss a beat!! THIS IS SO EXCITING, GUYS!! Can you feel it!? I CAN FEEL IT!!

*UPDATE* The new domain name is devontasteslifetwice.com. SO, check it out!! Bookmark it. Subscribe. Whatever. That’s where you will find this. 🙂

Second, I am excited to share that I am a MINIVAN MOMMA!! I know, I know, I said I would never ever in a million years ever get a minivan. BUT! Three kids means I need a bigger car, and the Equinox has been on its last leg for about three years now. SO…. I proudly present….

IMG_20140410_143030The minivan.

She is a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan, and I have decided to name her Saoirse O’Blue. (SAYR-shah is the pronunciation of her first name). I have loved that name for years, and my husband shot it down at every turn (I know, what a SHOCK, right!?). So, since she is my baby girl minivan, and it is not his concern, Saoirse it is. Saoirse O’Blue. She’s gotta be Irish, you know!! The kids love her. I love her. And I don’t know what took me so long to get on board with it all. I paid less for her new than some of her used friends were on the lot for, so I can’t complain about that one little bit, now can I? 🙂 Minivans!! Rule.

I only have a few weeks left of classes, and then it is off for the summer. I would love to teach this summer, but am looking forward to spending some time with the girls as a Mommy. Ask me again about mid-June how that is coming along, and how many bottles of sangria I have polished off. My mind, though, will not go to mommy mush!! I will be hopefully setting aside more time to write, for I need it to live. AND! I will be taking classes to start fulfilling some goals I have in regards to my further education. I am going to be completing my Composition Certificate next Spring semester, and then I will be rolling into another Masters program in English Composition.

WHAT!? TWO MASTERS!? But WHY, Mrs. FancyPants do you want TWO MASTERS!?!?!?

Well, for starters, excellent question. I have come to the blinding realization that English is what I need to be doing. With the Writers Workshop from last weekend still blazing in my mind (Claire McMillan did follow me on the Twitter, by the way! SQUEE!!), I realized that I need to be around writers. And writing. And helping students with writing. So, I want to be able to help them to full capacity. As it stands now, I can only teach the developmental courses, which is awesome, but I want more (I know, you’re so surprised). Plus, I want to be able to diversify my abilities within the school I teach at, and I want to be able to one day be in a leadership role. Having a Masters in English composition will put me in position for that role. Ideally, I will also then get my PhD in something, but as it stands, the University is cutting a TON of PhD programs, and there is a lot of unease in it at the moment. Besides, my children are small. And I am in no way ready for the rigor of a PhD program anyway. AND I don’t find the idea of educating myself out of a job to be such a glamorous idea, so another Masters it is (this one will be on the house, which is really one of the best reasons to get it!). This summer I am taking a few education courses I have been interested in to help me in the classroom, and in the Fall, it is onward and upward to finish that Comp certificate. YEE-HAW! Let’s do it!! I love learning, and I love writing more than most things. This is a win-win. Career advancement + following my passion for words + helping budding writers with words = BAZINGA!

I don’t know what took me so long to come back to this and realize this is my destiny as a writer and educator of writing, but I am glad I had the journey that I did. That Writers Workshop changed my life in many ways, and I am glad I was a part of it to be able to see the truth standing right in front of me. It had always been there, but I ignored it out of trepidation. I think a part of me is afraid that teaching writing on a grander scale may make me not want to write as much (like when you work in fast food and all of a sudden can’t stomach a Frosty anymore). As I have been writing since I was a very young child, I don’t think anything will quell the desire to tell others’ stories and lives through the written word. I will be brave, as Sara Bareilles asks us to. I will be brave and let the words fall out.

brave lyricI love this song… SO empowering for everyone, especially those who feel voiceless…How are you showing the world how big your brave is?

Livin’ on a writer girl’s prayer

Today at the campus on which I work, we had our 11th annual Writers Workshop. I was planning on attending, but my boss asked me if I would come and help her out with registration, which meant I got to go and get paid for it as well. SCORE! Of course I said yes, and I got to meet some local, talented writers, and some nationally published local writers as well. I got to learn a lot of tips for writing, for both myself and my students. I loved being there and could feel the creative energy flow. It was awesome, a true writer’s high.

It wasn’t until my second session that I was struck. And when I say struck, I mean it. I walked into a classroom, where I am usually on the other side of the scene, and I saw this lovely, thin woman with illuminated eyes and a warm smile. Reserved at first, I wasn’t sure what to make of her. She seemed sure of herself, yet hesitant to let it all out. She started talking about Edith Wharton (so, in essence, she had me at hello), and she proceeded to explain to the group that she had written an updated version of one of my favorites, House of Mirth. Her book is called The Gilded Age and is set in modern day Cleveland. I knew it sounded familiar, but I didn’t remember how. I listened along as she talked to us about place, setting, character, publication, etc in our own writing why it is all important, and how these things relate to her in her writing. She told us her Road to Publication story, and I appreciated the fact that she saw her struggles as points to make her better and want to work harder, even though at the time, I am sure she may not have seen them that way in the moment. It was at the time I checked my Nook for her book that it hit me. I had previously read about her book in People Magazine, AND I had written down that I wanted to check it out when it ran in the magazine. No way! Someone who had piqued my interest with her book description was standing right in front of me. And I was all FanGirl from there. It was my Bon Jovi moment. I was livin’ on a writer girl’s prayer.

I ended up meeting up with her in the bathroom after the lunch break, and we chatted. And she is lovely. REALLY lovely. She is funny, and real, and a mom and wife. She’s normal. Totally normal and cool. Someone I could go out to lunch with and then spend time shopping after. I told her that I had told my boss that I wanted to be friends with her. Her immediate response? “Yes! Let’s be friends!” She told me she’d follow me on the Twitter, which is just crazy to me. We talked kids, I showed her my girls, and we just did the small talk thing. We discussed books we had no desire to ever read again, authors whose style didn’t quite hit the mark with us, and what books we found downright awful. We sat beside each other at the keynote speaker address and award ceremony for local writers. The whole time I was a bit geeking out because I was sitting next to someone that has achieved one of my all time goals of publication by one of the Big Six Houses, and I felt that fire to write, to really write and do something with it, rekindle itself inside of me. Her laid back, yet professional and totally relatable personality made me believe that she and I are a lot alike, and there is no reason that I can’t be sitting in that same position in the near future. She’s just chill, but she’s borderline celeb status for me as a writer myself, and it was all I could do to ask her to take a selfie with me (please understand how hard it was… I considered it about 620 times). At the end of the awards ceremony, she went up to sell her book and sign them for attendants. I bought one (duh), and she signed it. And she did the coolest thing. After her little memo to me, she crossed out her proper name on the title page and just wrote her first name, like we’re buds or something. Just “Claire”. It was so humble, so natural. So cool. It made me smile to know that she would take that time for that personal touch, that little extra nod to “I’m just Claire”. Not many folks would do that. I was touched.

This is one more of those moments where I know one hundred percent that I am right where I need to be. I am doing what I need to do, and I am super blessed and grateful for every single opportunity that comes my way at the school and in my professional life. I practice grace and gratitude, and today I thanked God about a million times for this crazy exciting, blessed, and ordinary life I am continually amazed is mine. I also know now, more than ever, that I need to write more. Lots more. Like the keynote speaker, and suspense/fantasy writer Mindee Arnett reminded us, “Keep on writing on.” I intend to do more writing and perfecting this craft of mine. I didn’t realize it until today, but I reignited that deep-seated desire to see my name emblazoned on a book jacket. And the only way to get that highly coveted prize is to practice, practice, practice. Now, if only my three crazy girls could humor me enough to allow me the time to get that practice time in, that fancy jacket will be mine before wrinkles completely convert my face into a topographical map of the Appalachian Mountains. Eh, I’d take it even then.

Writing is something that I need to do to live.
I plan on doing it until I can’t do it anymore.

asimov

Presumably, that will mean I am no longer walking this earth.

jkrowling

That seriously sounds like the most perfect day ever.
Maybe I will have to get a sitter more often… 🙂