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This Mom in Quarters

Published February 23, 2015 by Jennifer Elizabeth

… I haven’t blogged in forever. I feel oddly detached from something I once considered ‘mine’—yet here I am. Because, it’s time to write.

This past year has been a struggle.

Oh the Commitments

Last spring I committed myself to a new job, working part-time from home. I could swing it. Both of my boys would be in school three days a week.

And then, in the summer, I was presented with an opportunity to assist as a teacher in my youngest son’s preschool class twice a week. I figured I could find a balance, so I said yes. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see my sweet little boy make his first friends. And he’s only four years old once.

But in November, a mini-bomb dropped. (I call it a mini-bomb because my problems are nothing compared to what some go through. I completely acknowledge that. I am very blessed.)

Sayonara Brick and Morter

A series of … shall I say, “unfortunate events” led my husband and I to pulling our oldest son from his school. In the middle of the day.

Yes, it was that bad.

I quickly enrolled my son in a cyber school, trying to make the transition as smooth as possible, and am now responsible for being his 2nd grade teacher (along with my husband and sister-in-law who help on the days I am with my youngest in preschool).

And yes, it was the only option we felt was best.

Cut in Quarters

Aside from these three roles, I am also mom/wife.mom going crazy

Being split into four different roles—working mom, teaching preschool mom, teaching second grade mom, and everyday mom/wife—each requiring it’s own specific needs/time, is tough.

I feel I’m giving each role 25 percent, at best. I want to be super mom.  I want to give 100 percent to everything—especially as mom and wife.

Yet I’m not. I know I’m not. No one is going to tell me I’m not.

Who would say it anyways? That’s like telling someone they are a terrible person.

 But I am ‘quartering it.’ And I dislike it, very much.

On top of all of this, I have a story that is clawing away at my brain. I want to write it down. I want to find the time to write it down. But by the end of the day, I am mentally exhausted. The idea of spending any additional time—either in front of a computer screen or brainstorming in a note book—makes me cringe.

All I want to do is curl up under my down comforter and sleep … so I have enough energy and motivation to do it all over again the next day.

Sadly, “snow days” have become my best friend. I live in the polar vortex. Because of the cold, my youngest’s school has been closed a few times this month. I revel in these days. one.less.thing.to.do.

Grocery shopping? I’d rather not.

Cook dinner? My brain shuts down. I completely lack culinary creativity.

Cleaning? Sheesh, it never ends. So sometimes I just ignore it. But don’t judge. I know you ignore it sometimes too. 😉

HOWEVER … There is Light

Church. Faith. Both of which I am thankful.

My priest spoke beautiful words of truth the other Sunday …

Whatever you do, you shouldn’t be doing it for YOU. It’s not about YOU. It’s about HIM. It’s about LOVE. Your love for Him. Change how you do it, and do it out of love. ❤faith2

So I have been trying my hardest to recall these words every single time I start to feel the “ughs” and the “whys” and the discouragement roll around.

There is a REASON why for everything. I don’t have all the answers right now. And it may not all be perfect. But I need to have faith. I need to trust. I need to love. I will love.

Life is quite the journey. Perspective and faith are essential.

Peace.

My #Writing #Journey: Cleaning the Litter Box

Published February 11, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Writing a story is the equivalent to cleaning a litter box.

Do I have your attention? I bet you’re thinking: What the heck does writing have to do with cleaning a litter box? Have I awakened some nasty images in your brain? I sure hope so ;).  The imagination is the BIGGEST golden nugget to successful story writing.  If you can see it in your imagination, you can write it (in my opinion). The trick is getting it all out.

Can you see where this is leading?

Allow me to continue: Over the past few days I have sorted through snippets of  writing produced last summer, and some produced nearly three years ago. A few I would consider “golden nuggets.” Many I wish to piece together for my “story-to-be.” And the key is to gather all the golden nuggets and pray they stick together to form the final product—much like cleaning a litter box.

Now, let’s get a teeny bit graphic.

A few weeks back I experienced litter box cleaning for the first time. My family and I adopted an adorable kitten. We named her Periwinkle (after the beloved cat from the children’s show “Blues Clues”). I took on the responsibility of cleaning her litter box. At first, I was a bit grossed out. There I was, a grown woman scooping cat crap.

A basic litter box and a bag of litter

A basic litter box and a bag of litter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those unfamiliar, to clean a litter box you must put the scoop into the litter, dig around a bit, and filter out the “golden nuggets”—and most of the time you will come up with a big pile of…well, you get the picture ;).  Everything should stick together nicely, and the goal is to find the big chucks and scoop them out—scoop them ALL out. And when you do—success. And of course the process continues the next day.

Well eventually I got used to the process and almost found myself excited when I’d discover the “golden nuggets” and was able to rid the box of the source of stink.

When you’re a writer, you have to sort through your ideas, constantly seeking the golden nuggets—the non-cat golden nuggets that is ;).

You have to access your imagination. Because if you can’t, why should your reader? Reading a story is all about the imagination: words are strategically placed to allow a picture to form inside the reader’s mind.

Our imaginations allow us to build on those words and create a perfect moving picture as we read. (And that is how we find ourselves suddenly lost in a story: perfection. :))

To conclude: as writers we have to constantly access the imagination and seek those golden nuggets. Some we have to filter out. Others we can put aside for later. And when we’re lucky, many will stick together and form the perfect story.

Right now I am filtering though my pile of nuggets and working towards my perfect story. Ultimately, my goal is the fuse the golden nuggets together and encourage the formation of a perfect moving picture within my readers imaginations.

What do you compare your writing process to?

…as always, thank you for your thoughts 😉

The Beauty and the Beast that is #Freelancing

Published February 9, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

My dream is to get published. Like many writers, I want to see my name on the cover of a book. I want to sit at a table inside a bookstore and greet the beautiful faces of those who read my masterpiece.

However, right now I just need to pay the bills.

Right before I started working as a freelancer, I had embraced a new beginning as a blogger and aspiring author. I had ideas for my YA book floating all over the place. I had also started writing a children’s book series. I was excited and I was connecting with so many other aspiring writers and published authors.

And then, I became ‘working mom’. I discovered that freelancing was wonderful in that I could work whenever I wanted; however, I also discovered that I could pretty much work 24/7 because there was always something to do.

I started to work as a freelance editor last July. I was able to quit my part-time job that consistently called me off or only scheduled me for only one or two hours a week. Best of all, I was able to work from home,  save money on gas, and not leave my kids.

I continue to feel the worth I bring to the company. I enjoy seeing the success my work brings and the connections it builds. I know that my devotion is helping another succeed.

This is the beauty that is freelancing.

However, as a freelancer, you can pretty much be “on call” 24/7, depending on who you work for–and if you’re needed, you have to just suck it up and do it.

I often find myself getting lost in my work. Each day I am able to get my daily stuff done, but I also know I can always do more, work ahead, etc.

There is ALWAYS something you can be working on when you are a freelancer.

Since I started in July, I have had two days off–both due to illness. I work seven days a week. I answer emails related to my job all day long. But I don’t hate it.

And now, seven months in, I am desperately missing the goals I was pursuing back in July. I am doing everything I can to find the time to finish what I started and catch my dreams. I know they are only a short distance away…I just need to find the balance.

When you freelance, there is no end in sight.

This is the beast that is freelancing.

If you are a freelancer, what are the biggest obstacles that you face?

…as always, thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂

#BoutofBooks 6.0 Goals and Updates

Published January 7, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth
It’s finally here!  Bout of Books 6.0 Read-A-Thon kicked off today, Monday, Jan. 7th (which made its debut in August 2011).
Bout of Books Read-a-Thon
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda (On a Book Bender) and Kelly (Reading the Paranormal).  It is a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday 7 January and runs through to the end of Sunday 13 January in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week.  There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books 6.0 team
My Reading Goals:
Jennifer Wagner
1. Michael Connelly’s “The Black Box”
2. Becca Fitzpatrick’s “Finale”
3. Comment on many of my fellow book blogger’s goals/challenges/updates
4. Participate in at least ONE challenge
Monday Update: I am getting a super late start, as it is currently 9 p.m. on Monday evening. I have done quite a bit of reading today; however, it’s been for my freelance job ;).  I wish I had the motivation to read “for me” right now, but I don’t.  I’m just going to call Monday a “wash” and start fresh tomorrow. Plus, I have 35 minute of Downton Abbey to finish from Season 3’s Episode 1 which aired last night, and I am dddyyyyinggg to finish it!  ;). Best of luck fellow readers!!

 

My Writing Journey: Inside the Wormhole

Published November 24, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Image courtesy io9.com

It has been far too long since my last blog post. Friends, I promise I have not fallen off the face of the earth. However, I may have fallen into a wormhole, and perhaps got stuck. For that, I apologize.

For weeks I have dedicated myself to work, and when I’m not working, I’m thinking about how I could be working.  The guilt caused by these thoughts then generates to “I need to spend less time working and more time with my kids.”

Naturally, I now long for the days when the majority of my day was spent entertaining my two boys, and my free time was spent reading and writing.

For months I have felt like my existence includes a laptop resting on my lap. My eyes are consistently exhausted from hours spent on the computer. However, my income has given me the opportunity to send my oldest to the school my husband and I feel is best for him. Not the one that was chosen for him.

With all of that said, I still miss the old me.

I miss the excitement of new followers, blog traffic, and Twitter responses. But most of all, I miss my creative moments and all the self-contained ideas I had bouncing inside my mind, not yet exposed to the outside world. I have yet to figure out the balance. The time just isn’t there.

It is beyond frustrating to feel as though months of work, brainstorming, and progress have been flushed into a black pit, and when something is spewed to the surface, it’s a bill or an unexpected medical expense. These are rancid reminders that work is an absolute, not an option.

How do other writers do it? Where in the world do you find the time? Do you sleep?

What do you do to keep from falling into the wormhole?

I need to get back into it. I miss my passion. Ignoring my intrinsic need to read and to read is no longer an option for me. I am spinning inside my own personal wormhole and I desperately need to be spewed back to the surface. Something has to give. Help.

My Writing Journey: Unbridled Genius

Published September 28, 2012 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Have you ever thought, “If only it was that easy?”

Writing is a challenge, especially for me. I can easily sit for hours, thinking, brainstorming, and attempting to fill my precious Word document with “the next big thing” in the world of fiction writing.

And yet there are writers who spill words onto paper like sprinkles onto ice cream. Give it a little shake and things just baked goods,close-ups,colorful,cupcakes,desserts,foods,frosting,icing,snacks,sprinkles,treatsflow, uncontrolled, yet natural. A pattern is set: words fall into place, beloved characters are developed, hooks are deliberately placed, and readers embrace the story.

I often wish it were that easy. I’d love my writing to be categorized as “unbridled genius.”

Create, build, express, publish. It would be such a lovely pattern to uphold.

Instead, I am the writer who houses ideas in her head and within her dreams. Yet when attempted to expose them, they either disappear or come out jumbled.

On the other hand, I wonder if I had it easy, would I appreciate the final product as much when I finally cross the proverbial finish line?

Can you truly appreciate something when you don’t have to work your butt off to earn it?

For now, I will continue to pursue my unbridled genius, accept the challenges that are thrown my way, and look forward to the day when my words are read by those willing to give me chance.

 

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