Where I’ve Been

16 11 2010

Apologies for being so absent these last few months, but life has taken a big turn for me—for the good—and I needed to take a break from blogging for awhile, as well as revisit how public I wanted to be with my big news: I’m pregnant! I’m very excited to become a Mama as I’ve been wanting a child of my own for many years, and the Creator has blessed me with the new life growing inside me. During these past few months of my pregnancy, I have felt the need to go inwards, to take more time just to be quiet and listen to my baby, and of course to nest! There are lots of preparations to make before the little one is born and my partner and I have both been busy with regular work as well. My creative writing is moving along smoothly, and I feel that I need to priortize that writing for now, with my time and energy for writing in general becoming more limited.

And so while I enjoyed blogging and will hopefully come back to it after the baby is born (I already hear all the parents out there laughing at me), I am going to continue to take a break from public blogging, aside from my occasional posts on the GIFT Exchange blog of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, where I write about fundraising, movement-building and nonprofits.

I’m sure that when I am a Mama-for-real instead of just a Mama-to-be, I will have many interesting and new insights into environmental issues, writing and other things that I’ve written about previously. Thanks for reading and check back in late Spring 2011 for more from me.


Shoulder to the Wheel

22 02 2010

The health problems I mentioned earlier included anemia/low-iron, which made me unable to focus long enough to write more than a couple pages. It was super-frustrating, but now I’m back in the saddle and just in time, as I have two deadlines I need to write stuff for—actually make that three: my next SundayStories writing group submission in a few weeks, my application to VONA by the end of March, and a reading that I’m coordinating with folks from last year’s VONA fiction workshop with Junot Diaz, also in March.

I’ve learned that it always takes more time than I think it will to finish up anything, especially if it’s my fiction writing, so I’m giving myself plenty of lead-time to work on all three deadlines. I can’t crank out fiction the way I can memoir/creative non-fiction or the grant proposals that I’ve written so many of over the past fourteen years, at least not now, so I gotta give myself plenty of time. Not easy for someone who’s so used to multi-tasking, being efficient, and getting things done quickly. But then again, many worthwhile goals are not easy to achieve, right? Half the satisfaction is in the process, the other half in reaching your goal, knowing how hard you worked and how you overcame obstacles along the way.

So, my shoulder’s to the wheel now, and while I metaphorically begin to sweat and push and labor over my writing, I also feel very satisfied knowing that my muscles still work.

Getting Back on Track

17 02 2010

I’ve not been 100% well this last week or so, which has made it challenging to stay on track with my writing. I took a break from blogging (which I’m glad I did), but am back to doing that, with posts on this and my other blog that both got a considerable number of hits thanks to (I think) catchy, intriguing titles that I post on both my Facebook page and Twitter.

But I haven’t really written anything in terms of my fiction or more creative work since last Thursday, when I was trying to get ready for the reading I was supposed to do with the rest of my writing group in San Francisco. Due to my health problems, I missed that, and have been in a bit of a writing funk ever since. This isn’t just about rest as part of my writing process, as I wrote about earlier, but I think it’s sort of like writer’s depression. I missed my writing date earlier this week, and have mostly been staying home resting and trying to get better, and feeling a bit crappy about myself for not being able to do more. Writing, of course, doesn’t take a ton of physical energy, and I’ve been able to blog so I should be able to do other kinds of writing, but I’m just feeling a block around it.

I haven’t been reading a lot either, despite my book-organizing round that I wrote about last post. I think I just need to plunk down today and tell myself to write anything for 15 minutes, and just stop guilt-tripping myself about it. Guilt doesn’t usually get me anywhere in terms of my writing—just saps the energy that I need to sit down with the page and start moving my hand, as Natalie Goldberg says.

And this really was one of the reasons I started this blog—to help me process through both the tough and the easy times in my writing life. To motivate me to get my hand moving by making me accountable to an audience—no matter how small at this point—who will be, in my mind, tracking what I do and asking me questions about it when I see them in person. So I guess I am making guilt my motivator again, and it does seem to work at times. I would like to find other, more positive emotions to help motivate me to write. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!

Will post later on today about how many words I’ve written today that are not blog-related. Wish me luck!

Riding the Other Wave

12 02 2010

As you might’ve noticed, I haven’t been blogging much these last few days, on this blog or on my other blog. I’ve been having some serious health issues—nothing life-threatening (or so I hope), but serious enough to warrant me scaling back on activities and just making me take it easy. It’s so crucial to take care of ourselves at times like these, even if it means missing out on things that we really wanted to participate in—I didn’t, for example, end up reading last night in the City, although I really wanted to be there. Our health needs to be the #1 priority for each of us, which would help us lead more balanced lives and ultimately just be more sane and happy as individuals, families, and communities.

I’m hoping to get back to blogging by early next week, but just wanted to let you know in the meantime that I hadn’t forgotten about my writing or this blog. I’ll be back after this other type of wave—the Life wave, I call it—has calmed down, and things are a little bit more back to normal again. And I hope you’ll still be here to read what I have to say.

Knowing When to Say No

6 02 2010

One thing I’ve learned in my work as a fundraiser and consultant, and just personally in my life, is how to say ‘No’. No to more work, to projects that don’t really interest me, to allowing people and things into my life that would drain me more than nourish or enrich me, or that I’m just not ready for for whatever reason.

This week, I said ‘No’ to applying to another residency program, this time at the nearby Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, Calif. It looks like a great program and I could meet the deadline fairly easily, but after looking at the list of people they’ve accepted in the past, as well as their writing sample requirements for fiction/non-fiction writers (they request a chapter of a book), I realized I’m not ready yet. I’m just not at the stage in my writing career where I have enough material—namely, a real manuscript of a book that I’m working on—to make it into the program. But it’s all good, because I know now that Djerassi is one of the places I can apply to when I do have a manuscript that I’m trying to finish. Right now, I’m just trying to finish a series of short stories, which is plenty of work for the moment.

Saying ‘No’ can be very liberating—especially once I get over the guilt! It frees up my time to pursue things that do excite and nurture my creativity, helps me get clearer on what I want in my life, keeps me from being burnt-out which in turn keeps me healthier, and just makes me a happier person overall. And being happy is a very good thing.


2 02 2010

I’ve had lots of writing and editing to do these past few weeks, as I’ve detailed in earlier posts. In addition to my creative writing deadlines, I had seven (count ’em–seven!) documents to draft for my grant writing client. So needless to say, I’m a little tired of spending so many hours typing in front of the computer. But I’m happy to report that I’m not tired of writing—I wrote in my journal this morning and am now blogging away. But I am going to give myself a break and (besides writing this blog post) not ‘require’ myself to write today. If I feel like it, great, if the mood strikes me, awesome, but it’s not something I’m going to make myself do today. If I’ve learned one thing in my 38 years on this planet—and I learned this lesson relatively recently—it’s that the period of rest after a very busy and stressful period is extremely important. Not to just my overall health and well-being, but also to the creative fire within me, and my passion for writing. I need to rest, to ‘restock the well’, as Julia Cameron puts it. I need to frickin’ chill.

It’s not easy for me to do this—I am a Capricorn, Type-A overachiever who has defined myself very much by my accomplishments. I’ve had to learn the hard way—by working through chronic pain and the after-effects of a traumatic childhood—that rest and relaxation is crucial to being healthy and happy.

So for part of today and all of tomorrow, and maybe even part of Thursday, I will allow myself to take a break from writing. I trust I will get back on the ball when I need to. I do have another residency deadline in less than two weeks!