Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taking the Wayback Machine to...2008.

When I first started blogging, way back in 2008, I wrote mainly under the name of “The Green Texan.” It was mostly a sustainability blog, where I wrote about gardening, using less energy, recycling, and more. I actually combined all of my blogs under one umbrella when I started blogging under my own name last year.

I still have those “green” tendencies, however. I just haven’t written about them so much. I think I was following the wave of blogs that I was reading back in the late 2000s. Those were the days people worried about their carbon footprint, toxins in their makeup and hair products, and growing gardens in their backyards. It was pre-Obama and just at the end of the Dubya administration. We weren’t sure where we were going as a society, but we were going to do everything we could to hold on to hope that it would get better. I think the progress of the Obama administration kind of took out the spark in that movement. Either that, or it was the hipster takeover. I’m not sure. It seems that the bloggers I was following, with names like “The Crunchy Chicken” and “Green as a Thistle,” were handing out the ideal way to live a simpler life, with less consumption. This was also about the time when I started following a little cooking blog called The Pioneer Woman, before everyone knew that this was Ree Drummond, before the show and way before Walmart! This was the age of the Mom Blogger. I didn’t know that’s what it was called at first, but I always envied all the time that they seemed to have to churn out blog posts every day. I think the only one of the bloggers I followed that was similar in age and singledom than I would have been “Green as a Thistle,” and she was Canadian! 

All of these lady bloggers really gave me the inspiration to develop my own blogging chops. I wasn’t very consistent, but I definitely wanted to share my abilities with the world. We were all so passionate about doing everything we could to save the planet. What happened to that passion? Was is squashed with the advent of Portlandia? Certainly the more hipster, hippie-dippie trends took over. To be honest, I did try some crazy things in the name of using less non-renewable resources. An old-fashioned clothesline? Yep, until it broke. It took me a while to decide I just needed to put it out on the curb for the scrap man. I also bought a bicycle. One that I rarely ride because there is nowhere in my neighborhood that is safe enough to ride a bike without getting ran over.

That year or so that I did that part of my blogging life was one of my more productive writing times. I think it was a creative distraction for me while I finished my Master of Library Science. I was also in a new job that did not have me nearly as busy as I had hoped to be. Also, this was before I discovered Facebook. I can look at my blogging history and see exactly where everything started going downhill for my blogging. I think social media did that for a lot of bloggers. The blog forced me to experiment with my writing and a different way of living. Facebook kind of insulated me into another world. I am hoping to get back to this world I used to be a part of. Not just the writing, but living a sustainable life, with a simply sophisticated twist.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Intentions Derailed: I Survived Flumageddon 2017

The past two weeks have been a bit of a drag. I had fully intended to begin blogging both on the Fort Worth Writer’s Boot Camp page as well as this one. Flu A said there was no way that was going to happen. I didn’t know I had the flu for a good three days, and by then it was too late to do much about it except take Theraflu and sleep. Which is what I did. Thirty hours’ worth in three days.

I’m still suffering from some congestion, but the temperature broke last Friday. I’ve had severe lack of energy since then. It’s been difficult to motivate myself to do my regular day to day work at school, let alone anything extra. 

I refuse to make myself feel guilty for not having accomplished my goals for the past two weeks. I was sick. It happens to everyone. I can’t stress about this. I just have to do what I can do when I can do it. The best thing for me to have done for my creative process was to do exactly what I did: rest. If I had attempted to write during that time, it is entirely possible I would have screwed up, creating a more embarrassing mess than just not doing anything. This is an important lesson for me. I used to push through sickness, working myself to an even worse state than I would have been had I rested. I would end up being sick for a month or longer, never allowing my body to slow down to heal itself.

Please remember to take care of yourselves when you get sick. It may seem like the noble thing to do to just force yourself through it, but it is damaging, not only for your health, but also for your work. Plus, you don’t want to be “the one” to spread a contagious virus! 

Stay well, and when you aren’t, allow yourself to stop.

Monday, February 6, 2017

With Rest, You Can Do the Rest!

Last week I set the time and place for the February Writers Hangout. I always have it scheduled from 6-8pm, mostly because it’s a Happy Hour type of event, but also because I’m an early-to-bed kind of gal. It’s not unusual for me to be bathed, in my pjs, and pulling the sheets up over my head by 9:30pm. A lady had asked that I move the event time to be from 7-9pm. Um…nope. It may be more convenient for you, but that’s just too close to my bedtime.

Sleep is so, so important to my creative process. I just don’t function well if I haven’t had a good nights’ rest. This morning I awoke at 4am to a splitting headache. I only had 5 hours sleep. My day today may not be that productive after lunch, not just because I’m feeling badly still, but because I didn’t have enough rest. I did get up and journal…eventually…but not right when I woke up.

I find on days I go to bed late, as in after 10pm, that I just can’t possibly wake up by 5:30am to get my morning pages in. I will wake at 6:30am and only have time to get ready and a bite to eat before heading off to work at 7:20. I then end up doing them at work. That cuts into much of my worktime where I need to be active and creative for my job, but also keeps me from really concentrating on what I’m doing. I have constant interruptions with my day job as a librarian. Sounds weird, but it’s true. I’m not complaining as it’s part of what I do and its expected of me, but it’s not contusive to creative writing. I lose my train of thought entirely too easily and it takes me forever to get back on track once I remember where I stopped.

Rest. It is so important. Not just to your health, but to your creative juices. Some writers can write until the wee hours of the morning, others have to go to bed early and get up before sunrise to get anything accomplished. I am that before sunrise lady. Don’t get upset if I don’t come to your event or if I have to tuck out early on a weeknight. It’s not that I don’t want to be there, having all the fun with the fun people. It’s that I must go to sleep!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Juggling When You Don’t Juggle Well…

I get asked all the time, “How do you do it all?” I am a full-time librarian, committee chair for the Texas Library Association, owner of several small businesses (the Boot Camp and Sleeping Panther Press), volunteer, and writer. Um…I don’t do any of it well. My brain is scattered. I am thinking of so many different things at one time that I can’t remember where I was on a project if I’m interrupted. I never really have any downtime because I am constantly thinking about what I could be doing instead, along with getting up and working on something around my house, if I happen to be home. It is so overwhelming.

One of my promises that I made to myself at the beginning of this year was that I would slow down. I would streamline so much of what I do so that I will have more time to actually relax. It helps that I have the wonderful opportunity to move my writing sessions and critique groups to TheLast Word Bookstore. I am no longer saddled down with an office or expensive rent to keep up with. That will also free me up to work on possible online classes. I think this is the exact opposite of what most people do- online classes to in person workshops. I think that is the direction I’m moving towards.

Yesterday I officially resigned from my Texas Library Association committee chairwomanship with the President-Elect. My term will end following the 2017 Conference. This is a great relief for me. I am still going to push for my district to participate, but I no longer want the months’ long dedication and worry this position was creating right in the middle of everything else I have coming due, including submissions for Panther City Review 2017.

Speaking of which, JotForm is my new favorite website that I will be using for Panther City Review 2017. It is integrated with Dropbox and Stripe (my 3rd party credit card processor), so if it works the way it says it will, this is the game changer that I’ve been looking for over the last few months. I’m actually excited about opening up submissions in a few days. That’s so much better than the dread I was feeling last week. It’s all ready to go!

This is an exciting time in my life. I do feel like I’m getting it together, even if I’ve had to cut certain activities out of my life. I hope that everything really works the way that I hope. I need to be able to have time to write. That’s really what all of this is supposed to do, right? My creative energy needs to continue to flow in that direction.