Writing Break

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I graduated!

I now officially have my Paralegal Certificate. In the making since the fall of 2015 (1 1/2 weeks after getting back from my tropical island honeymoon nonetheless). With the classes and what I learned still fresh in my mind, I updated my resume a few weeks ago and I realized how much I actually learned and know – it’s kinda cool!

But this post isn’t about paralegal studies, it’s about how I’ve had so much more time on my hands to write, now that I don’t have homework looming over my head every week and classes to attend on Saturday afternoon and Wednesday night.

I’ve recently been forcing myself to write a little bit at lunchtime every day. I found a smallish notebook that fits perfectly in my bag that I bring to work. I decided to see if I could concentrate on writing a page or two at work during lunchtime. Surprisingly, I got right in the zone despite sitting at my desk with work and deadlines looming just a foot away on my computer.

Side note: since posting last, I did not get a paralegal job, but got a new job at the company I’ve worked at for 6 years. It’s in a compliance related area. I still want to be a paralegal (who writes novels on the side of course!) but for now I’m happy where I’m at – and it’s only been 7 months. The point is, the pace is very different from my old job that I had for 5 ½ years. When the pace picks up it moves extremely fast, leaving almost no time to breathe (good practice for paralegal work though). Whereas at my old job, the pace was fast BUT more constant and not as rushed.

So that being said, I often find myself working through lunch more often than not and it’s difficult to pull away sometimes. I’ll admit, I’ve become more of a perfectionist over the years and find myself wanting to do everything and anything and all of it RIGHT the first time. And if I don’t get it right, I’m unnecessarily hard on myself and it eats away at me. Not the healthiest, I know, but that’s where writing comes in.

These past few weeks I’ve taken more time away from work at lunchtime than not. I turn my seat around to the non-computer portion of my desk, munch on my food and write a few pages in my notebook. I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere with that manuscript I’ve been wanting to write for years. The only way to get it done is make yourself write. I recently read in a writing magazine that you need to make time rather than find time. It’s forcing yourself to do it regardless of life’s circumstances rather than sitting and waiting to see if a good moment comes your way.

Now, if only I could keep up regularly with this writing blog… until next time whenever that may be.

Peace out.

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Browsing Bookstores

It’s calming to go about a bookstore and look through books. I briefly talked about this a few posts ago, but, for the sake of loving books, I’m going to elaborate.

Yesterday I had a bad day at work. It wasn’t extraordinarily bad, not the worst either, but just a bad day that really made me want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

Well, my bed is about 25 miles from where I work, so THAT wasn’t about to happen. I had to suck it up and deal with the sourness of the day.*

So after work I decided to go to the only bookstore I know of that’s closest: Barnes & Noble. I got a small coffee drink and browsed the sales and new releases. It was great and I forgot about my bad day!

Now, I don’t know WHY this happens, but it does. Walking in there, or any bookstore for that matter, immediately calms any nerves or anger I’m carrying. It must be that new book smell radiating towards me the minute the doors swing open. It’s a smell that is unique to bookstores.** It always brightens my spirit when I’m feeling down.

And even better: I found a few good deals on the sale cart AND found TWO new debut books by new-ish authors. It was a very successful trip.

Even if I don’t break down and buy something, the browsing part is relaxing. It’s the possibility of finding a good book among the rows and shelves of titles. Grabbing snippets of a story from the dust jackets. Being amazed at the 3 inch, 700 page novels.***

But mostly, it sort of brings me back to 10 or so years ago when I would do this on a regular basis as a teenager and then go home and write. Before college. Before jobs. Before wedding planning and boyfriends and student loans.

I guess it boils down to the simplicity of it. It’s something I immediately gravitate towards when I need a pick me up.

What’s yours?

*Note the first: Because crawling under my desk and curling into a ball would be weird for everyone else in the office and then HR would show up somehow and ask me questions.
**Note the second: used bookstores don’t fall into this category. Used bookstores are a whole other fun topic.
***Note the third: ?!?!

The Cycle of Laziness and How I’m Getting Out.

I have certainly neglected this space for a while now. And I feel terrible about it. Although I didn’t think to myself every day, “I need to sit down and write a post”, I certainly thought it multiple times a week over the last few months. Mostly when my day was ending and I was rapidly losing the battle of staying awake at night.

But hey, we all neglect things, right?

Whether it’s on purpose to avoid doing something you don’t want to do, or by accident because other things come up and priorities shift, we all neglect something at some point or another for some reason or another.

I wish I hadn’t neglected posting for so long, but I did. Partly because more important things came up that I needed to dedicate my time to, partly because I’m lazy, and partly because I wasn’t being very conscious about managing my time. (Side note: the not being conscious part directly effects the lazy part. It’s a terrible cycle that doesn’t stop!)

And not to my surprise, I haven’t done much writing either. [Insert sad face here.]

Or reading for that matter. [Insert super sad face here.]

So, I figured I need to set some priorities and how much time I need to dedicate to them since I’ve got a lot going on these days.

And by a lot, I really just mean regular life. I’ve stopped looking at it as “being busy” and looking at it as “this is my life”. Which is really okay by me!

Due to the nature of my day job and the industry I work in (customer service in life insurance, directly effecting when insurance agents get their money), I’m constantly prioritizing and reprioritizing things every day. So, if I do it every day at work, why can’t I do it for myself outside of work?

First, I need to list all the things that I’ve got going on that need my attention on a regular basis:

1. Spending time with Phinny the pug.
2. Spending time with the fiancé.
3. Running/working out/staying healthy.
4. Planning my wedding.
5. Sleeping.
6. Writing.
7. Reading.
8. Blogging.
9. Spending time with the family.

This actually doesn’t seem like a lot now that I’ve listed it out. But when I try to cram in all this every day between 5pm and 9pm Monday through Friday and time on the weekends, I get overwhelmed and then I stop thinking about what I need to do and when I need to do it and then I get lazy.

And when I get lazy I don’t think about what I need to do and when I need to do it and get MORE lazy. Told you it was a terrible cycle of laziness.

So what I think I need to try is to take these items and prioritize them throughout my week. Maybe shift them a bit if unexpected things pop up (just like work). I hope this gets me out of the cycle of laziness.

I Edit My Texts Because I Love Words

When the topic of Scrabble comes up, everyone says to me I should be good at it because I was an English major in college.

Wrong.

I’m actually not privy to Scrabble all that much.

What I AM privy to is making sentences and paragraphs out of words in my brain, and then rearranging them to make them fit nicely on the page. This is ENTIRELY different from CREATING words out of letters printed on wooden squares.

Picking out words to use in a particular sentence is awesome. I love it, especially when I get going. I can’t pinpoint WHY I love it so much, it’s just a feeling. It makes me think and my brain gets head over heels.

I wonder sometimes how other writers feel about words. Comments?

The Non-Habit of Writing

Sometimes I need to remind myself why writing is important to me. I’ve been trying to think about this more often than not as of late, mostly because I’m still feeling stuck.

To most of whoever is reading this, it only appears I’ve been stuck for a small period of time. Say about…two to three weeks. But in my world (before this blog existed) I’ve been stuck for a while now. Don’t ask me the timeframe.

So what I mean by “stuck” is this: I’m constantly thinking about writing, but I can’t seem to find the time to dedicate to it, to put words on the page, to get my thoughts out of my brain. So in a sense, I feel stuck. I don’t know how to move forward.

Last week, I declared I would start a writing routine by writing for one hour each day, from 7pm to 8pm. That timeframe works for me. Brilliant idea.

At least I thought.

I haven’t been able to sit down since when 7pm rolls around!

I was thinking about it today while vacuuming the square that is my apartment: why haven’t I been able to sit down at my allotted time and write? Why am I always busy right up until I fight to keep my eyes open at 9pm? Other writers I’m sure make time to write, why can’t I seem to?

And as I vacuumed all the dog hair off the couch and the pillows and the chair, it hit me: habit. I’ve formulated a non-habit of writing.

Instead of making a habit out of writing every day, I’ve made writing every day a non-habit. I don’t do it and haven’t done it for quite a while. My habit is to (unfortunately) not write and do other things in its place.

Like vacuuming.

But honestly – the vacuuming thing needed to happen. Phineas the pug puppy is shedding like crazy. His shedding is so amazing I actually have to write these three sentences about it.

So in order for me to get out of this non-habit and into a habit, my first challenge is to formulate a method of writing daily during the week, Monday through Friday, because those have been the toughest days for me to sit down and write.

Not sure what’s after I establish a method that works for me, I suppose I just write, right?