on reading about writing.

dog in fenceI’ve walked past this hole in the fence for five years. This is the first time I actually saw the dog’s head poking through. And this has nothing to do with this post, I just think it’s a funny photo. (He was a very nice dog, I patted his nose when I walked past.)

I have a problem.

I don’t read any of the writing blogs I subscribe to.

Here’s the thing: My RSS reader has 20 different writing-specific blogs. I haven’t read most of them in more than three months. I’m not really sure why.

When I do start reading them, it’s always helpful, thought-provoking or inspirational content. I like the writing blogs I subscribe to. Flipping through the list, however, I just don’t often stop and read. I should, since it does help whatever I’m currently working on.

Theory 1: There aren’t enough photos. Apparently I’m a four-year-old, and like photos in my blog posts. Sometimes even on photo-heavy posts, I scroll through the images and don’t actually read anything. Maybe if I could get the blogs as a bound book …

Theory 2: It makes me feel guilty. If I’m reading about writing, it’s just serving to remind me that I’m avoiding writing. And I’m excellent at avoiding my current WIP. Of course, maybe a third of the things you find on a writing blog are tips for having success as a writer. Tip one? Develop a writing habit, and show up every day. Thanks, blog that I’m using to avoid writing for reminding me of said fact.

Theory 3: Blogs written by writers are usually rather well-written–which, depending on my mood, can either be encouraging or is completely deflating.

I’m undecided which theory is the most likely. Truthfully, it probably depends on the day. So I’m sorry to all the lovely people whose blogs I subscribe to but don’t read often enough. It’s not you, it’s me.

— (Any favorite writing-related blogs I should check out?) —

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favorite: breakfast.

breakfast

There is something about mornings that I love. The relative quiet, knowing there are hours left to get the to-do list finished, sipping a warm cup of coffee. The last few days, in particular, I’ve had leftover tofu scramble from a book club brunch (brunch with girlfriends might be the best thing ever). It’s the recipe from “Vegan with a Vengeance” but with added zucchini and potatoes. Though I didn’t like the tofu I used (different grocery store, new-to-me brand) everything else was really good. Add cinnamon toast, coffee and morning blog reading, and it can’t be beat.

The rest of the ambiance: We installed wind chimes we bought in Texas over Christmas and they are beautiful. They are not the high-pitched, tinny things so many people sell. I can hear them from my breakfast spot when the wind is blowing, and they produce a rich sound (tuned in the pentatonic scale, the sales woman pointed out about 80 times).

There is also a bouquet of lilies my lovely husband brought home on Valentine’s Day that are still gorgeous, but even better, make the whole room smell like flowers. If I had any talent with plants, I’d grow things that smell good all the time. Instead, I rely on fresh cut flowers once in a while.

where. what. marathon countdown.

Hunter Boots

Holy cow, it’s already December 27. How’d that happen? It seems this goal of finishing a marathon has completely taken over. Sixteen days, folks. In 16 days we’ll see if I can still walk after running 26.2 miles.

My knees hurt, my left foot hurts, my right shin hurts. But I have 15.5 days to let them rest and heal. And then they’ll probably get a nice, long break from running afterward. Time to buy a bike, I guess.

So far, I have a 5k and a half marathon on the calendar for the rest of 2013. No more marathons yet. Have to finish the first one. My two goals after this race are a sub 2-hour half marathon and a Ragnar Relay. Except I need 11 other people crazy enough to want to do Ragnar, too. Anyone feel like running around northwestern Washington?

If you happen to be in Florida on January 13, I’ll be one of the thousands running around Disney World. Cheer for us, people. We’re going to need it.

spotted.

Things spotted on my run today:

• A great dane
• A corgi
• A lab puppy that was incredibly well leash-trained
• My neighbor
• The guy that sells newspapers on Sundays at my grocery store
• The guy that plays music during summer months at work
• Someone in a t-shirt my team made for work years ago
• Fall leaves already awesome yellows, reds and oranges
• A really pretty rose–just one–left on a rosebush

No one in an antelope costume this time.

I wonder if I’d notice all this stuff if I was just walking around, instead of running. Sorry, no photos. It’s too much work to dig out my phone, and I hate stopping if I don’t have to on long runs.

running playlist.

I’m training for a marathon. It’s in January, and I’m excited. However, I am a music runner. I have to have something playing in my ears, and I prefer that something to have a fast, driving beat. I’ve got a good selection, but it takes a long time for me to run 26.2 miles, so I need some more music. Here are a few of my favorites, to give you an idea of what I like to listen to while I run:

What else, people? I need more.

add a title here.

By day, I’m a terrible headline writer. By night, I’m a terrible novel title writer. Last year’s NaNoWriMo novel still has the working title, and I still don’t like it. So no, I’m not going to tell you what it is. Not until a much better title presents itself to me.

This year, I have a working title that I actually think will suffice. “Melting the Snow.” Yup. Not going to explain it right now, but I stuck it into the Lulu Titlescorer and it received 79.6 percent. I’ll take it. I think last year’s working title was like 20 percent or something.

This Titlescorer application is, if nothing else, fun. Check it out.

let’s talk about harry potter.

I read a lot. Always have, always will. Kind of want to be a librarian, if only because in my fantasy world, librarians get to sit around all day reading, only occasionally looking up to answer some child’s question.

I have lots of books that I like and a fair number that I love. But I think at the moment, if someone asked me what my all-time-favorite-book is, I’d probably answer Harry Potter. Which isn’t a book, but a character, technically. In any case, the seven books that make up the whole story are probably my all-time favorite.

J.K. Rowling created such a believable world that coexists with our own. Harry is the underdog, the downtrodden, the hero, all the things we love as readers. It has back stabbing, intrigue, romance, mystery, suspense, action … and while each book ties up into a neat little package (for the most part) there is an overarching storyline, also, that keeps the suspense from book to book.

Not that the books aren’t without their flaws. They are, but so is almost every other book out there. The thing about Harry Potter is that I don’t care. I can ignore the things that aren’t perfect.

Do I want to be the next J.K. Rowling? Really, what writer doesn’t want to hit on something that is such a phenomenon, that will likely be read by children and adults (or to children by adults) for multiple generations? I don’t necessarily want to write the next Harry Potter, however. That isn’t the kind of book I see myself succeeding at. What I want to find is the story that resonates with me, that I can be passionate about, and with that passion create something I’m really proud of that other people will want to read.

The millions upon millions of dollars wouldn’t be so bad, either, and I’ll take my paychecks in pounds, too. At the moment they’re worth more.

i am a writer.

The first time I answered the “what do you do?” question with “I’m a writer,” the follow-up, of course, was “who do you write for?”

Well, here’s the thing. I don’t consider my pay-the-bills job a writing job. I do write for that job—quite a bit, actually—but it is also an editing/art direction/photography/management/production/on-and-on-and-on job. So to explain who I write for within the context of this polite, getting-to-know-you conversation is hard. I guess at the moment I write for myself, with the goal to have my (non pay-the-bills) words read by other people someday.

Until I get that book published, however, I’m a writer because it keeps me sane. It’s a creative outlet, a place to get out frustrations, anger, fantasies, through worlds and characters that I create from scratch. I get to decide if my main character is young, old, green, purple, boy, girl, human, mouse, verbal, silent, smart, dumb. My sky can be blue or orange, suffocating or freeing, angry or sad.

I’m a writer because its a way for me to keep learning, even though I’m not in school. It makes me learn about different periods of history, different cultures, different ways of thinking. It makes me learn about the art of crafting a story that isn’t a news story (I’ve said before journalism taught the flowers and flourishes out of my writing).

I’m a writer because its a challenge. I read so many books with beautiful twists of phrase, unexpected metaphors, inspired stories. I want to find my own version of that special magic that happens with a really great piece. It isn’t easy for me, but I don’t think I want it to be easy.

I’m a writer because I was born this way, and if I ignore it, I’m denying a piece of myself.