Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Upcoming Writing Workshop Class: Writing Your Artist Biography

I have a new online class coming up on Saturday, March 16th: Writing Your Artist Biography.

I'd love to have you join me!

Here's a brief summary of the class:

Your artist biography is usually the first thing that a publisher or reader will look at before deciding whether your work is worth reading further. You want to make sure that what you write doesn't turn off those who will most impact you becoming a success. In this workshop, you will be guided through the process of what to include in your artist biography, and most importantly, what not to include. You will then write your biography. By the end of this session, you will have a biography ready to share with the publishing and reading world.

For more information, please click on this link.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Third Winter Strikes!

My car told me it was 22° F when I started it up this morning. It is obviously Third Winter around here. I’d think this was a strange anomaly for it to be this cold one week before Spring Break, but I had a Facebook reminder this morning that exactly four years ago we had about five inches of snow. No precipitation this morning, however there was a busted pipe near one of the oldest streets in the city on my way to work this morning. It made for a nice, slick fishtail turn when I made my way to school. Scared me terribly.

As one of my students said this morning, “It should be criminal for it to be this cold in America, especially Texas, and not snow.” He was right. There is nothing fun about freezing your buns off while waiting for the car to warm up. We are not completely used to the idea of “pre-warming” our cars here, so everyone ends up being late on days when either it’s very cold or there is ice on the windshield.

It is agreed this morning that we need Third Spring to come back ASAP. We may get our wish—It’s supposed to warm up to 72° F by Friday.

I seem to be writing about the weather quite a bit lately…

Monday, February 11, 2019

When "Figure Out Life" is a Task for the Day...

When figuring out life, a fire is needed (also to keep off chills).
While cleaning off my desk in my office at school, I found a “To Do” list that had one of the items listed as “figure out life.” It was the only task on that list not marked off as completed. Who would have thought that figuring out life would be so difficult?

I’m also now questioning exactly what was going on in my head when I thought to put that down on as a “To Do” task? It was several tasks down on the list, so perhaps I had something stressful happen that day? I’m not sure. What I do know is that if I went so far as to write it down, it must have been necessary in the moment!

For me to “figure out life,” it must mean that I really want to figure out what I’m going to do besides what is going on right now. I know I have it pretty great at my current school, with just a few things that drive me absolutely bonkers. It could be much, much worse. I’ve experienced much, much worse at another school. Like many great things, they do eventually come to an end. It could be that my principal retires and we get someone fairly awful as a replacement. It could be that my role as librarian completely changes, which is in the realm of possibility, for sure. It could also mean that opportunities arise that would mean my whole career path changes. 

All of this thinking of “it could mean” does kind of scare me. I don’t have a bullet proof career, and there are many people out there who could say the same. I do have those moments where I dream of independent work, where the only boss I have to answer to is me. I don’t know if my current path through Rachel Pilcher Writing Workshops will lead me there, but I can sure hope. I know that the surefire way to ensure that it doesn’t would be to not do a thing to move it in that direction. That would be unacceptable.

I'm pretty sure that I still haven't "figured out life" yet. Maybe I should add it to my tasks every day until I do?

Monday, February 4, 2019

When it's 78 in February, You Get Your Nails Dirty!

One of my planters. Winter killed nothing!

This time of year, especially when the typical Texas winter is happening, I end up doing a lot of gardening work. Sunday alone I spent four hours raking, digging, uncovering, transplanting, and seeding. I mean, it was in the 70s on February 3rd, so how could I not spend time outside? As I stated in my previous post, I get so much thinking done while getting dirt under my nails, I should really try to do it non-stop every week of the year!

In my soreness today (because I am almost always working muscles while gardening that seem to never get worked out through dance or yoga), I get to act on that thinking. I have at least three pieces of writing going as I write this blog post. Luckily, I’ve finally convinced myself that they best way to get writing done is to just apply the butt to the seat and write. Editing while I’m going or thinking about that most perfect sentence is not going to get it started or finished. 

While I would love to be able to just garden, write, and read, I know that I have a mission which must be fulfilled on my campus. Until the funds for writing match that of the day job, I will be at school most days during the school year.

Monday, January 28, 2019

When in Doubt, Get to the Garden!

My Sunday seed haul. Calloways saw me coming.
I am almost always my most creative in writing when I have a secondary passion project going on. In most cases, that secondary passion is gardening and yard work. Getting my hands dirty in the soil, laying out the plant design, whether it be flowers or vegetables, gives me time to be at one with my thoughts. I don’t have to talk, look at a screen, or even really think of anything other than the seedling in front of me.

This year I got ambitious in my seed purchasing (photo above). I tend to container garden, using oblong galvanized water troughs purchased from my local feed store. While they may seem expensive, they last forever, are portable, and I don’t have to build anything. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need more than my current four troughs!

Even though it’s late January, I look forward to the crops and meals the seeds will produce throughout the spring, summer, fall, and here in Texas, into the winter. My hope is that it will spur many creative thoughts, as well.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

At My Most Creative...

"Creativity Light" one of a pair hanging above my bed.
Any time before noon. That’s when I am most creative. After noon, I need a nap. Working a 7:45am to 3:45pm job means that I can’t easily get all my creative work done before noon. Sometimes I don’t have time to even think about my “To Do” list until after lunch because of interruptions and emergencies in my day. Due to that, my goal is to get up at 5am so that I can get some creative writing in before I go to work in the mornings. That doesn’t always (read “usually”) happen. When it doesn’t, I try my best to steal moments throughout the day so that I can get that creative need fulfilled. It’s a struggle sometimes, and I fail at it many days.

Why do I not just give up? The simple answer is, I can’t. While that is simple, the reason is not. It is a drive. A desire. A need. I absolutely have to write down words. I have files in my cloud storage filled with random paragraphs, ideas that sparked my interest in those moments of writing need.

Sometimes my words in a day end up being complaints. Frustrations that I can’t speak out loud. Worries about not getting things done as they need to be. There is nothing wrong with that, but complaining is not always fulfilling to my creative soul. It just ends up frustrating me more.

I honestly never really have writers block because I can always write words. What I do have is creativity block, where my brain gets overwhelmed and the interesting stories just can’t come out. I’ve been working on trying to make those complaining and worrying paragraphs, located in a file aptly called “Complaints Department,” into some sort of story collection. All those words, those complaints, those worries will become something useful to me.

This is why journaling is so important. If I can’t think of a thing to write, I journal. I start my morning off every day that I can with journaling about anything and everything. You never know what your mindless writing will bring to you. Mine will hopefully become a book by the end of the year.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Happy 2019!

Crazy asparagus growing in my garden: January 2019
Happy New Year, Y’all!

Well, its ten days after the first, but you can say "Happy New Year" all throughout January, right?

If you’re anything like me, you are probably already a bit overwhelmed with the tasks of everyday life. Over the last few weeks I’ve been closing out my goals for 2018 and getting them solidified for 2019. Some of my goals for 2019 are repeats from previous years. If you watched my Facebook Live on December 30th over on the Rachel Pilcher Writing WorkshopsFacebook page or the replay on YouTube, you already know that I picked five goals for my writing year:
1.       Create workbooks for all of my online classes. (speaking of, my first workshop, Write Fearlessly in the New Year, is coming up on Saturday, January 19th. Join me!)
2.       Blog at least once a week (and…I’m working on that.)
3.       Do more than just business writing.
4.       Submit to my critique group every month.
5.       Finalize my screenplay.

None of this is unrealistic. I just have to work on it. I need to use those open times when I’d normally mindlessly flip through Facebook or Instagram and write. By analyzing how I use my time, I can certainly do all that I have planned. I think the most challenging goal will be #3-do more than just business writing. I do a lot of writing for my business. In teaching writing, you have to do writing. Sometimes this tricks my brain into thinking that I’ve done my writing for the day if I’ve spent two hours writing. Nope. I need to do creative writing, as well.

On Sunday I participated in an online live workshop called Tranquility du Jour Live with Kimberly Wilson. This is a free seasonal offering where she guides the participants through setting intentions for the season. I always have a takeaway from this, and this time around was no exception. I’ve been trying to set my word of intention for the year for the past couple of weeks. I kept bouncing back and forth between several words, but Sunday I finally settled on one: Focus. All of my issues that I have with writing, reading, or even completing some simple tasks can all be attributed to a lack of focus.

Focus. Something we all need more of in this multitasking world.

I like it.