Focus? What focus? (Or, The Art of Writing in a Construction Zone)

I find myself once again at the end of a month without a completed short story to post. I’m working on it today, and have been for the past several days. It’s a good one, but not quite done. And that’s just going to have to be okay. I’ll have it up on Friday, so be sure to check back.

Why the delay? Well, a few reasons.

The first is that it’s not easy to focus when you’re living around dust and dealing with construction noise. Don’t get me wrong – our contractors are amazing, they work fast, and they do a really good job of cleaning up at the end of the day. But when you’re me, and (controlled) chaos in the house feels like (uncontrolled) chaos in your brain, it’s still just difficult to work around. The good news is that the dining room ceiling is stable and sound…

…and work has started on updating and expanding our master bathroom.

The second is just that life is just busy right now. I’ll share more on that next week, but for now, I’ll just say that there are lots of things, including renovations and construction, vying for my attention at the moment, and they’re all important, and I’m just not balancing them super well. I’ll endeavor to work on that in the future.

And the third? Well, it’s me. I’m the problem. I’m allowing things to distract me, and I’m making excuses. They’re good excuses (see: above), but I need to prioritize my writing. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

So, onward, and by Friday, May’s story will be written and posted and done and dusted. The house, however, will not be dusted. And that’s okay, too. For now, I write.

Travel, Rain, and Trying to Write a Short Story

Well, owing to a combination of a very busy week and my own poor planning, here we are, precariously close to the end of the month, and I haven’t even started April’s short story yet. Sigh.

We’re visiting family this weekend, and we drove down yesterday. It’s so nice to see everyone! And I desperately want to spend this time together, rather than tucked away in a corner trying to write. The good news is, it’s raining today! (No, seriously, this is good.) That means that it’s probably going to be a quieter, slower day, so maybe I will have some time to step away and work for a bit. We shall see.

The other good news is that we brought both Annie and Merlin down with us. Annie loves road trips, but cats don’t usually like to travel (an understatement), so we wondered how Merlin would feel. But he’s been doing great! He didn’t complain in the car, and once we got here and he explored a little bit, he pretty much decided he owns this space now, too. That cat…totally unflappable, I’m telling you.

Anyway, if you don’t see a short story from me by Sunday, I promise to post one next week. And that means two stories in May! Which is breaking my rule a bit, but I figure, we make exceptions for things that matter, right? And family matters a whole lot.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a wonderful Friday and a lovely weekend. Happy creating, y’all!

Writer’s Block (A Poem)

And slacking on the list.
Hours turn to evenings with
nothing to show.
I know, I know –
I can do better than this.
(One breath,
one step,
one task
at a time.)
Just choose the words
and make them rhyme.
Take a moment
and let it grow,
let it live
and sing.
Just make something.
Yes, you can.)

On Caffeine, and Cutting It Out

I love coffee.

I also love tea, and I’m too fond for my own good of Diet Coke. As vices go, caffeine’s not so bad. Nonetheless, I haven’t had a drop since June 21st.

This is a change I’ve been thinking about making for a while. I was experiencing some really bad heartburn, and I’ve never been the best at sleeping. I figured cutting caffeine – especially coffee – would be helpful, and so I finally did it.

And, well…yeah.

I’m fine. Totally fine. Really, I’m completely good. Except…

I had no idea how essential caffeine was to my creative process!!

Y’all, I have had so much trouble writing anything good for the last month. Poems are a struggle, and I truly don’t know how I’m going to manage this month’s short story (which is coming this week, by the way!).

So, tell me, writer friends: How do you get yourself into a good writing headspace, especially if you’re also going without caffeine? I’ll take any advice. HELP. Please. And thank you!

(I’ve also cut out alcohol. But that’s been much easier. Which both surprises me and doesn’t surprise me at all.)

Am I a writer this week?

It’s been a week, y’all. Last week was a week, too. I don’t feel like I’ve been able to focus and spend time on the projects I care most about lately, including my writing. In fact, I don’t feel much like a writer this week at all.

It’s not a great feeling. And it’s also not true.

On weeks like this, when I’m tired and stressed and when my impostor syndrome gets the better of me, I remind myself that creating is fundamental to who I am. It’s part of me, just like my hair and my nails and my eyes and that weird little wrinkle I get in my forehead when I think too hard about math. It’s like breathing.

Every day, I’m thinking about a story, or an idea, or just some words that fit nicely together. Even if I can’t do anything with them RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately, we live in a world where RIGHT NOW is often table stakes, a requirement of any job and an expectation in any undertaking. There’s just not a lot of value placed on someday soon, or on letting your mind meander even when your hands are busy elsewhere. It seems, in many ways, we’ve lost the will or the way to appreciate the art of daydreaming.

So, I’ve not gotten much writing done this week. But I am a writer. I can’t turn it on and off like a faucet. I wouldn’t want to.

And if you’ve had a week like mine, this week or in the future, I hope you remember: You are a writer. Even when things get in the way, and even when it feels like you’ll never get back to your trusty old pen and paper (or laptop). YOU ARE A WRITER.

In conclusion, TL;DR – Yes, I am still a writer this week. And I wonder what next week will bring.

Two Inspiration Cuartetos

It’s time for another monthly poetry challenge from Rebecca over at Fake Flamenco! July’s challenge is to write a cuarteto about what inspires you to write. This one was a little tricky for me – I don’t focus on rhyming in my poetry, so it felt something like flexing a new muscle. I think I did okay, though. 😊

Raindrops pinging on the roof,
a cup of tea, and a cloudy day
make a happy writer, I would say.
And right here is the proof.

I like to write at night
when all is quiet and still,
to keep company with the moonlight
and share thoughts with just paper and quill.

I had a lot of fun with this one! If you want to participate, too, you’ve got until Sunday. I think you should! It’s always good to try new things, right?

Poetry Is (A Poem for National Poetry Month)

A dance of
sound and silence,
the cadence of
word and rhyme
in perfect time.
A cry, a chance,
an exclamation.
The joys and sadness
of one
or a nation.
Light and dark and lyrical,
or halting and still.
The will to write,
the fight to find
just the right
turn of phrase
to break through the haze
of day and night
and step outside
the endless circle.
Poetry is power:
yours, mine, and ours.
Poetry is home,
and away,
and longing
and knowing
and looking
and seeing –
all that we are,
and all that we can become.

Friday Writing

Hello, Friday! Hello, Spring!

It’s so hard, when it starts to get warm again, to focus on work, and it’s been a busy week. But I’ve managed to stay on top of everything, and I’m spending today just writing. And drinking coffee. Which definitely helps with the writing.

And you know, I think this is honestly my favorite way to spend a Friday.

The Why (A Poem for World Poetry Day)

I write poetry
to leave a piece
of me
I write to
look back and
to dance
on the edge,
to quiet the
in my head.
Or just to sit back,
and look
and see.
There’s no wrong
I think,
to write poetry.
A slant
of words,
a twist
of the tongue,
can change
the world.
How fortunate
are we,
the writers,
that such a
can be ours?

Just writing…

Today it’s cloudy but not snowy, and as of this moment, we still have a hole in our basement wall, and I’m just feeling sort of…blah. It’s been a stressful week. We ran out of propane yesterday, a problem which has since been sorted but was terribly uncomfortable for the better part of the day. And we’ve both been busy and trying to balance work things with the house chaos.

All of that to say – today, I’m just going to write.

I’m just going to write, because aside from reading, it’s the thing that makes me happiest. The writing zone – that spot when you’re really into what you’re creating, and the rest of the world just sort of melts away – that’s one of my very favorite places. I love the feeling of letting everything else go, and just being carried away by words and by story. It’s magic. There’s nothing else quite like it, and no other place I’d rather be right now.

And it comes with the advantage of marking some stuff off of my very long and ever-growing to-do list! I’m working on a script for an upcoming podcast episode, and a longer-form fiction that I have some ambitious plans for, and of course, January’s short story, which I think will be very inspired by the winter season and the quiet, cold time in between Christmas and spring.

So, that’s me. Just writing. And also there’s coffee. As Fridays go, this one’s not so bad. And hopefully by the end of it, I’ll have some good stuff down on the page.

Happy Friday, and if you’re spending time writing today, too, then I hope that it’s fun and rewarding, and that you create something amazing!