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?) —

this.

Rock On Buddha

I like this site, and can get lost for hours, but nearly everything tagged writing is a favorite. Need a push, some inspiration, or someone to say what you’re thinking? Scroll through. And then keep writing.

I’m about halfway through my second draft of my novel. I figure I have about three more edits to go before it’s ready for the first round of readers. This is a slow process, people. But I’m not tired of these characters yet, so I’ll continue to slog.

“One does not ask if it’s worth it. We are people, there is no doubt, who exist solely insofar as we write, otherwise we don’t exist.”

Also, Buddha says rock on.

seattle summer.

Sunshine Panorama

A funny thing happens in this town for the first time each year around June. I’m not sure those who have never lived in the Pacific Northwest can truly understand it.

The sun returns.

But here’s the thing. It isn’t just the sun. It’s fresh air, it’s a lightness, it’s losing the dust and dirt and lint that collects in your mind during the gray, misty days of winter. I grew up in the Midwest, Minnesota, specifically. Spring and summer were wonderful. Suddenly, you didn’t need two sweaters and a winter coat just to get the mail. One day it was snow boots and a ski jacket, the next day it was flip-flops and a tank top. But even then, even when the temperature suddenly shot up 40 degrees overnight, it didn’t feel the same as the start of summer does in Seattle.

It might be cold, the world might be covered in snow, but in the Midwest, the sun doesn’t just disappear for nearly nine months. Curled up on a couch, under a blanket in a heated home, you can close your eyes and face the window where the winter sun is pouring in and almost trick yourself into thinking it’s July.

There’s no tricking yourself into sunshine in Seattle. I’ve tried. I own a sunlamp. I used it almost daily this past winter. I even left the clouds on three occasions to vacation in sunnier spots. And still, when the sun returned, it was like I’d had the best birthday party of all time. It’s an addiction. The first day the sun returns and it’s really warm (nearly 80 degrees when I took the photo above), it’s hard to stop yourself from overdoing it. (Yes, I have a sunburn.) People leave their homes and sit outside, wherever they can, to get some sun. They leave work early, skip classes or cancel indoor plans, all in favor of soaking up the sunshine. Smiles return to faces that had been somber for months. Even the dogs seem happier.

Juneuary will return, I’m sure. Summer doesn’t often stick around in Seattle until July; this is most likely just a tease. But I’ll take it. And when the rain comes back for one last hurrah, I’ll be patiently waiting inside with my bottle of sunblock.

the best.

White Flowers

I love those days where the ideas just keep coming. Today was one of those days, and possibly the best part is that I already had free time slotted tomorrow (yes, I’m not working and still have to schedule free time) so I can use it for brainstorming on today’s ideas. Except I’m not telling yet. There will be no jinxing.

I had just been thinking about the dearth of new ideas popping into my brain lately. Guess a bunch of exercise plus warm weather equals ideas. Or maybe I should run stairs more often.

In other exciting news, I’m going to Richard Hugo House’s Write-O-Rama this year, and I’m so jacked. I had something going on last year and couldn’t attend. A full day of writing workshops? DROOOOL. Let me know if you’re going!

waterfalls.

We’ve been hiking a lot this spring. It’s one of the best parts of Seattle–so many great places to get lost in the trees, all less than two hours away. The last three hikes have all been to waterfalls. Turns out there are a lot of waterfalls in this state. (These are all iPhone photos, so they aren’t the greatest.)

Wallace Falls

To Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls 1

Wallace Falls 2It was so sunny this day, just beautiful. Wallace Falls is really pretty, but it is a busy trail. Going on an overcast day would probably help with crowds. Otherwise go early. We were walking out around 11 a.m., so we missed the worst of the crush.

Twin Falls

Woods to Twin Falls

Tree

One of the fallsWe did the Twin Falls hike with my mother in law. This is a short hike (less than five miles out and back) and a good one if you’re with someone who doesn’t have hiking gear (boots, mostly). I only have a photo of one of the waterfalls. Guess the other one wasn’t very impressive. Actually, if I remember correctly, you couldn’t get a great shot of the other one. This is another really busy trail, since it’s so short and easy. The woods to get there is just beautiful, though. Look at the trees! Love it.

Cherry Creek Falls

Crossing a creek

End of the trail

Cherry Creek FallsCherry Creek Falls has been my favorite so far. Wear boots on this hike–you have to cross a stream, and the trail is muddy, so you’re going to get, well, wet and muddy. But it’s worth it. Also, write down the directions. There is no cell phone reception on the trail, and while the trail is marked with pink ribbons, it’s helpful to know when to start watching for turns. We got to the end of the trail, and someone had painted “Well done” on the log marking the lookout. Ha. You can also hike down to see the falls from the front, which I would recommend. Just look at how pretty they are! This trail wasn’t nearly as busy–it’s five miles round trip, and a bit more out of the way, which helps, and totally worth it.

Craig at Armadillo

Bathroom StrangenessOn the way home from Cherry Creek Falls we passed the Armadillo Barbecue, my husband’s favorite barbecue. They were open, so we stopped in and he ate some ribs. Above is the women’s bathroom–they have a toothbrush chained to the safety bar by the toilet. So confused.

Any favorite hikes we need to check out?

 

 

 

 

all the pretty books.

I was wandering around Elliott Bay Book Company last week with no real objective. Then I spotted this:

All The Pretty Books 1

What a gorgeous copy of “The Beautiful and the Damned,” huh? I want to use that book as inspiration for my bedroom. Creamy white with gold. So pretty. I didn’t buy it, but I might have to go back and do it just because I can’t stop thinking about that book cover. I’ve never read that one, though “The Great Gatsby” is one of my all-time favorite books, so I really should.

After that, I was on a mission to find more pretty books in the fiction section. Like these:

All The Pretty Books 2

Novellas–and there is a whole series–that are the cutest size and a typography lover’s dream. The covers are so simple and bold. They’re adorable. They’d look really nice displayed face-out on a shelf somewhere. Plus, I haven’t seen novellas published alone before (other than “Heart of Darkness”), and I love the idea. I don’t remember what company published these, but kudos to them.

And finally, this copy of a favorite book:

All The Pretty Books 3

What you can’t tell from a photograph is how awesome it felt. The cover was incredibly soft. I’m guessing it was pleather, based on the price, but it didn’t feel like plastic or vinyl. It wasn’t stiff, either. My copy of “Anna Karenina” is a beat-up paperback edition. I’d love to have this one.

Ever bought a book just because it was such a pretty design?

another top ten.

I believe I linked to some of these top 10 writing tips in a Friday post a few weeks ago. This one was in my email, found on the Writer’s Digest site:

10 pieces of writing advice from Sherman Alexie

10. Don’t Google search yourself.
9. When you’ve finished Google searching yourself, don’t do it again.
8. Every word on your blog is a word not in your book.
7. Don’t have any writing ceremonies. They’re just a way to stop you from writing.
6. Turn your readings into events. Perform and write with equal passion.
5. Read 1,000 pages for every one you try to write.
4. In fiction, research is overrated. But that means readers will write you correcting all of your minor biographical, geographical and historical errors. If you like, make those corrections in the paperback, but don’t sweat it too much.
3. Don’t lose the sense of awe you feel whenever you meet one of your favorite writers. However, don’t confuse any writer’s talent with his or her worth as a human being. Those two qualities are not necessarily related.
2. Subscribe to as many literary journals as you can afford.
1. When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author. Be effusive with your praise. Writing is a lonely business. Do your best to make it a little less lonely.

A lot of these lists seem to have two pieces of advice in common, stated different ways: Stop procrastinating and read, read, read, read, read. Got it. I’ll be in the other room, reading …

office inspiration.

A few months ago, we finally had our old knob and tube electrical work ripped out and replaced with modern wiring in the second bedroom we use as an office. This meant grounded plugs (yay!) so we could plug computers directly into the wall. Whoa.

So, to connect the title of this post to that first paragraph: Hubs and I now share an office, meaning I have a place to work that isn’t the dining room table! I wanted to make my corner mine, a place where I felt peaceful, creative and motivated. I wanted soft colors, natural materials and an uncluttered space. Thanks to the internet and Pinterest I found a lot of ideas–and a few stuck.

It started with

Book page wall via Poppytalk via Sweet PaulVia Poppytalk, via Sweet Paul.

I love the book pages on the wall. Love. That is my entire inspiration, really. Soft colors, full of words (hello, writer?) and old. Funny, I like old things, but am not a digger, so never buy things in antique or thrift stores. I get overwhelmed. Etsy works much better for me. But I digress.

I found a book of English poetry published in 1911 at the Seattle Library Book Sale probably a couple of years ago now, and I can’t remember if the book came before the photo or not. In any case, I had what I needed.

Next up was a desk. I found some at Anthropologie I liked, but they were in the $2,000 range. Ouch. To narrow it down, I wanted wood (preferably reclaimed) with metal legs. Here are some desks and tables I saved for inspiration:

Wall, check. Desk, check. The rest of it is still a work in progress, but here are some more images of things I want to incorporate, or am thinking of incorporating. The only thing I’m still completely unsure of is what type of chair to get. For the moment, an extra dining room chair works well enough.

My office is currently a work-in-progress. I’ll share as soon as I can get everything in order (or most things in order …)

I’m really excited. It’s going to be an awesome space to work.

wednesday’s word.

I’m starting a new weekly post. Every Wednesday, I’ll post a word for inspiration. It might be something new I’ve found, something I’ve liked for awhile, or maybe just something that brings up an interesting image. Just don’t hate me if once in awhile its more than one word.

So, for today, the last Wednesday in November, the word is desolate.