A WRITING RETREAT

Office at CabinIt began three weeks ago, this self-imposed writer’s retreat for one. It’s something I’ve dreamed about for years. Time alone, during which I would write and create astounding stories.

Alas, when the time came for me to be alone in the mountains, other things crowded my plate. Editing jobs for others, marketing of my books, and organizing the new home. Writing once again took the shortest piece of the straw. But I organized the new office, and I’m comfortable.

Then this week, when I realized my time for the writer’s retreat could be counted in days and not weeks, I developed a schedule and managed to write 6,000 words on a new manuscript, but it wasn’t anywhere near the goal I’d set. Then I got sick. Momentum gone.

I’m down to my final four days of my alone time, and I need to push forward. My mind doesn’t sit down for the tasks I need want to complete. So here it is, one-thirty in the morning, and I can’t sleep. So I laid down 1,000 words. I have no idea if they are words worthy of the new book. But they are words–imagines and thoughts of my characters–jumbled out of my head onto the computer screen.

ColorCabinWhat I want to do requires more stamina than I find I have right now. Instead, I want to stare at the trees on the mountainside turning first yellow, then scarlet, and then the softer muted tones of red and orange. It’s been quite a show. Those moments of silence staring at the landscape or gazing at the stars in a sky not clouded with city lights bring peace.

Six novels await creation. Perhaps they can wait just a little longer.

I still have four days with an organized office, editing jobs completed for now, and rain on its way, keeping me inside. The long-anticipated writer’s retreat shall begin, unless the rain stops and more leaves turn red or yellow.

Happy Halloween, autumn, and October. And be forewarned, when dreams turn to reality, something else just might occur instead.???????????????

Keep Moving with a Thick Skin

DSC03075Many of you know that in addition to writing this blog about all topics pertaining to living consciously and lightly upon the planet, I also write fiction. In fact, writing novels consumes me most of the time these days. In the past two years, I’ve published two novels and re-issued two traditionally published novels.

Like most writers, I’m sensitive but have been forced to develop a tougher exterior. It doesn’t come easily and in the quiet moments of self-doubt, that bulky facade falls away, and I bleed from any slights I might receive for my passion. I recently read a quote that said, “It’s only work if you’d rather be doing something else.” That fits me. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing despite the often lackluster sales of my books, the frequent ignoring of what I do by relatives and friends, and the sometimes thoughtless comments made by others. I live with it, and I realized recently, I’m even learning to accept it.

During the past year, I went through some serious health issues that required me to go on chemo-like treatments to rid my body of two unwelcome viruses that were attacking my nerves and liver. I became weaker, I was often dizzy and unsteady on my feet, and my hair fell out. All my life, I’ve had thick blonde hair and I suppose there have been times when I was a bit vain about it, but I endured all that. Despite all the side effects, I managed to go to the gym four or five days a week. I did my Zumba, Tai Chi, and weight resistance machines. More than the physical activity, the support I received while there kept me going.

In particular, two older women in their eighties were sweetly solicitous and encouraging, telling me I was beautiful despite my straw hair coming out in clumps. They are my heroes. One day someone told them I was a writer, and they were so excited. Neither of them used computers or went online so I brought them three of my books and told them if they didn’t want to read them, to pass them on to someone who might enjoy them.

Two weeks later, one of the sisters (the one who doesn’t read much) told me that they didn’t like the topics of my books and were going to return them to me because they’d never read them and didn’t know anyone who would. I only told one person about this–another writer–and she confirmed what I felt.

“Just when I thought I’d heard of everything that could be said to insult us, you tell me this story!” my friend said.

I decided not to  react and told her that would be fine. When I saw her the following week, I was friendly as if nothing had happened. Then the other sister (the one who reads) entered the room.

“Pat! I’m so glad to see you,” she said. “I started reading Trails in the Sand the other night, and I  can’t put it down. I’m already half way through.”

The other sister said, “You’re reading one of her books?”

“Yes, I am. And I told my daughter about it, and she wants to read it, too,” reading sister said. “It’s so educational about the sea turtles and the oil spill. And the family! My goodness, I can’t believe them.”seaturtle7

I smiled and continued to work out.

This morning the reading sister was at the front desk of the gym when I entered.

“Pat! I brought your book today. Will you sign it with a personal message to me? I’ve never had a book signed by the author.”

I happily took the book and the pen.

“You’re an inspiration to me,” I signed.

If she only knew what her words did for me. It will keep me going until the next time there’s a dip in my motivation.

If only I could remember these positive things in times of doubt.

P.S. I’ve beat the viruses, and I feel better than I ever have in my entire life. A positive support system, prayer, and my writing kept me going and motivated me to get out of bed most every day even when I felt I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.

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The Inspiring Blog Award

Today when I woke, frustration with many parts of my life filled my head. Where do I start with my second draft of my new novel? How can I improve the abysmal sales record for my newly released novel? I wondered if anyone ever read my blogs or my posts on all the social media sites I’m supposed to be frequenting to build my platform. Yes, Patti’s pity party was about to go into full swing as my chin scraped the top of my desk. I opened my email and saw someone left a comment on my blog.

“If you go to my blog, there might be a nice surprise for you there,” the comment said. So I went to Lightningpen’s Blog, and sure enough I had one of the nicest and best surprises of my short blogging career. Lightningpen’s Blog nominated me for the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you!

Someone does read my blog after all. Maybe all the work isn’t lost into the netherworld of the Internet. Today I move forward with renewed faith and hope that what we do always makes a difference. We might as well make it a good difference.

As a part of the rules for being nominated, I am to write seven things about myself. So here goes:

  1. Both my grandfathers were Methodist ministers.
  2. I played the flute in middle and some of high school. I took lessons in college. And I still own a flute but it mostly sits on a shelf in the spare bedroom.
  3. Until I moved to Pennsylvania, I could describe where I lived by using the back of my hand. Upright it is Michigan, the home of my birth. Inverted it is Florida (the thumb is the Panhandle), where I lived for 30 years before moving to the Pittsburgh area. Not sure what to do with my hand now that I live in a rather square/rectangular state.
  4. My husband and I first fell in love in Michigan when I was seventeen and a senior in high school. He was twenty-two and ready to start his life. He moved to Pittsburgh, and I eventually moved to Florida. We reconnected in 2009 after a thirty-six year separation, and we discovered we still loved one another. Today, we’re still on our honeymoon.
  5. I was once known as the Python Princess when I worked for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. That’s a story for a blog for sure.
  6. My favorite breakfast is cold pizza.
  7. I am the baby in my family. My parents were delighted to finally have a daughter. My brothers were upset because the basketball squad they’d envisioned when they discovered there would be a fifth sibling were squashed. Of course, if it was today, I’d be a part of that team!

And now for the most pleasurable part of this nomination for most Inspiring Blog Award. I am honored to nominate fifteen other blogs for the award. These are the fifteen blogs that most inspire me through their writing, experiences and comments. They are all truly worthy for The Inspiring Blog Award.

  1. Hazy Shades of Me
  2. West Virginia’s Farm to Consumer Connection
  3. Nature’s Place
  4. katieajennings.wordpress.com
  5. The Museum of Forgotten Pickles
  6. Everywhere Once
  7. kilpatrickkenya.wordpress.com
  8. Travels with the Blonde Coyote
  9. birdlightwind.com
  10. Kana’s Chronicles
  11. The Neophyte Writer
  12. Clean Tech Solutions
  13. The Soulsby Farm
  14. countrygirllifeonthefarm.com
  15. blessedwithastarontheforehead.wordpress.com

Please visit these blogs. I think you’ll like them all because they all have one thing in common. They are passionate about their subject matter and that always makes the very best writing of all.

To the nominees: Now it’s your turn. Please thank me in your acceptance blog, posting my URL. Also, write seven things about yourself (this is fun but gave me pause!). And then choose fifteen more winners and post their URL’s in your blog. And most of all, continue your excellent work that inspires me to get back up and try again. Thank you.