We went to bed Monday night with the weather report buzzing in our ears. Because we’re retired, the buzzing didn’t keep us awake. We had no place to go Tuesday morning so the status of schools and the thickness of ice on the roads didn’t apply.
I didn’t expect any evidence of a winter visit Tuesday morning. But as I looked at some of my favorite firs and cedars, it was as if someone had splashed drops of white snow randomly on their branches. You can see above the remains of Tuesday’s snow.
As clearly as if someone was speaking, I remembered the first lines of Mary Oliver’s poem, White Eyes:
Have you ever noticed it doesn’t matter to a cat where it rests or naps? Or when or on what piece of furniture? Or in what position–belly up, draping its legs this way and that? Oh, to be so relaxed that it doesn’t matter.
We humans live under too much stress to act like a cat. Yet, I’m going to try. I managed to do it once before and then lost it.
In 2005, I enjoyed a three-month sabbatical with my last employer. Obviously, it was to my credit that my temperament improved from the law firm and its lawyers. At the end of my time off, my husband announced he had enjoyed my time at home with him. So much so, he had decided it was time for me to retire.
In a few months, I retired.
I haven’t looked back with any regrets. With one exception, retirement has been everything I hoped for. However, I tend to take on too much too often to enjoy any time for me. I’m learning to say the word “no” more often, but not yet well-practiced at saying the word “yes” to myself.
I’ve enjoyed the time to write, but life has gotten in the way of publishing my memoir. And I’m growing tired of blogging and social media. I don’t find joy in any of them at the moment.
That’s why it’s time to pause. Like a cat–right now–today.
November 15th is the beginning of personal time for a while.
I will not be posting to the blog for approximately six weeks. There won’t be a quarterly newsletter until after the first of 2019. I will not be on social media for reasons other than family and keeping up with church and volunteer activities.
I am hoping to get some work done on my manuscript, but I’ll also be preparing myself for a third spine surgery. I want to be in the best physical state possible as I want this surgery to work in easing my pain to some degree and to experience a good recovery.
Thanksgiving and Christmas
To each one of you, I send Thanksgiving and Christmas greetings. I hope the season of gratitude and the season of His birth bring hope, joy, and love in abundance to you and yours.
On most writers’ blogs when the word “reveal” is used, it’s to share your soon-to-be-published book cover. Not quite ready for that yet.
But, we–husband Bob and me–are almost ready to “reveal” The Writing Studio in its finished state. I first shared images of my studio in this post. It’s been a long process, and I’m so grateful to my designer/builder Bob for the fantastic job he has done.
From the initial planning stages, Bob’s hand has been in the design, placement in our backyard, and materials. These are the things he knows how to do and does well. I’m so certain of his skills and abilities I sit back and wait until he’s finished.
Occasionally, someone (yes, Marian!) would ask about when images would be posted. I would hem and haw and give some silly excuse. But it was just taking time what with doctors’ appointments, medical tests, injuries, physical therapy appointments (both of us!), and more. And until my health began to improve, I wasn’t going to be able to work in the studio much.
I’m happy to say we’re almost there…only a few things remain to be done.
You’ll only have to wait two weeks!
Yes, we’re that close! Can you believe it?
Pictures will be posted of the finished Studio right here on the blog two weeks from today. Yesterday I hung a few items on the walls, looked at what needed to be done inside before the photo shoot (like I’m some kind of professional photographer–not!).
Maybe I’ll even get brave and do the tour in video format. You’ll never know if you don’t come back in a couple of weeks to see for yourself.
I’d like to introduce you to Janna who blogs at All We Need Is Love…. Janna is writing a memoir and I’ve found some of her posts, including this one, fascinating and well written. Please visit her and read some of her work.
The northwest has enjoyed some early spring weather this year. On each clear and sunny day, Husband Bob has been outside cleaning and decluttering our yard. We love our mini-forest but each rain and wind storm brings down needles, fir and pine cones, tiny boughs, medium-sized limbs.
At some point, this gets under Bob’s skin and he HAS to get out there and clean it up so the debris doesn’t get ahead of him. Still not able to get out and help him I stay inside and work but I’ve begun to notice that my housekeeping has slackened a bit over the last two plus years. It’s time to get busy!
Spring cleaning usually makes us think of home. But what about our work spaces? As writers, we often overlook that space. I know mine needs a good cleaning and decluttering, but where to start. Today let’s look at what you can do to enhance your writing space.
1. Author Website
Yes, your website! As writers, we are careful to keep content current and regularly produced, but what about the following: your bio, your photo, old content in your sidebar(s), broken links, page load speed, recent backup, delete unnecessary plugins, activate any plugin updates, check site’s responsiveness on mobiles and other browsers. Many components of our websites are often updated. If we’re not keeping those updates current, our sites will not function well for our readers.
Although your email program likely holds a lot of data, it is still a good idea to go through your email system and delete unneeded folders, no longer needed emails just sitting there, newsletters you don’t subscribe to any longer, and perhaps consolidate some duplicate folders under different names.
Another and perhaps hardest step in managing your email is to unsubscribe when going through new mail to those mailings or newsletters which you consistently delete without opening.
A large variety of “clean my pc” software exists online. However, be cautious and make certain you know what you’re downloading. One last piece of advice not to be ignored: if you are not already doing so regularly, backup your computer often.
4. Social Media
Time to make sure certain things are up-to-date in this part of your writing life. Check profiles on social media, settings, check apps attached to your Facebook author page to make sure they’re working, make sure videos and/or trailers are loaded to author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook author page, etc., and check groups on LinkedIn and Goodreads to determine which ones you should leave (i.e. not active or productive) and search for new groups to try.
5. The All-Important Desk
Last but not least, what about your desk? Is it clutter-free? Are stacks of paper stashed all around, on the floor, underneath? Sort out that paper! If you have physical file folder, place any related paper there. If you don’t need it, recycle it.
If you’re not sure, start a temporary folder as a holding place for these. If there’s a chance you’ve filed any of the paper to Evernote or OneNote or another app, take some time each week to doublecheck those apps for that piece of paper. And if it’s there, get rid of it. I’m guilty of this last one, and I’m working on this now.
There are many other steps we can take so that each morning we can walk into a space ready for us to write. It was impossible to cover everything in one blog post.
If you have a suggestion about cleaning and decluttering, please share it below in the Comment section.
My family history consists of many changes. With parentage defining our personal history, my parents and my DNA have more or less labelled me in many respects, especially change.
When my dad arrived home from work on Fridays, he teased my mom that it was a good thing he wasn’t a drunk. His reasoning was based on the number of times Mom rearranged the living room furniture, he might have thought he was in the wrong house!
Likewise, Dad couldn’t resist physical moves to newer or different housing. I don’t dare count the number of moves we made until finally Mom said, “Enough!”
I share this bit of family history with you because I’ve done it again. I’ve not only changed the look of my website, I’ve moved it. Yes, I’ve moved from Squarespace back to WordPress, but for good reasons.
Sometimes we have to spend a little time in a new place to get all the details on top of the playing table. Then we realize the deal wasn’t as great as we first thought.
There were and are features at WordPress that I decided I just didn’t want to give up. And Squarespace lacked certain conveniences I’d grown spoiled to having available. So, I’ve made the move back “home.”
Now, there’s one little thing I couldn’t move back with me. That was the list of people who followed the blog using something other than signing up for my newsletter. There are three ways to follow a WordPress.com blog:
First, if you are a WordPress.com user, you can use the “Follow Button” as seen near the top of the sidebar to your right. It only takes one click and my blog posts will show up in your WordPress Reader.
Or just below that button I’ve placed a “Follow Via Email” block where you simply provide your email address and my posts appear in your inbox.
Perhaps you love social media and prefer to follow using one or more of the media channels. Look for the “Let’s Connect” block and choose your channel of choice.
For the next six weeks or so, I’ll continue to circulate the posts via my newsletter account. But at that time, I intend to take a sabbatical from the newsletter and sharing my posts using the newsletter software. I’ll give fair warning before taking this action.
Thanks, as always, for reading, and I hope you continue to do so.