Monday, July 26, 2010

Fighting the Urge to Just Sit

My husband started a new schedule at work today:  4:00 AM until 3:00 PM.  That means the alarm goes off at 2:45.  In the morning.  That's a big switch from his usual 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  It will be a challenge for the whole household.  But these days we have to be grateful for the jobs we have.  Not too long ago we were both unemployed.

In no way do I mean to sound selfish, but this new schedule affects me too.  When the alarm goes off at 2:45, I wake up.  And I stay awake until I know that he has gotten to work safely.  And then I stay awake for a little while longer.  This morning I finally fell back to sleep around 4:30.  Until my alarm went off at 5:45 so that I could get up and get ready for work.  So right now I am really tired.  And that's after a 20 minute nap on the couch after a quick supper.

I had big plans for working on my blog tonight.  All throughout my workday I was thinking of what I would do when I finally got a quiet minute with my laptop.  But right now I don't feel like doing any of it.  I'm surprised I'm even typing this post.

I should admit, though, that this problem of being too tired after work didn't start with my husband's new work schedule.  I've had this problem way before now.  I've fallen behind on so many of my goals because I'm too tired after I've gotten off work and picked up the kid and come home and fixed dinner and cleaned up after dinner (or not) and washed laundry that is needed for the next day.  You know the drill.  I'll bet more of you than not experience the same exact thing.

So how do I get around it?  How do I push myself past the tired feet and aching back and drooping eyelids to write a few words for my novel or finish up an article or write a blog post?  Or do anything?

I've tried vitamins and exercise and going to bed earlier.  I'm looking for a quick, magical fix here.  Anybody got one??

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Merry Christmas in July!


Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love the preparation and celebrations and good cheer and gift-giving.  I love the hustle and bustle and excitement.  I also love the quiet reflection while remembering the "reason for the season."

Imagine my excitement when I learned about Christmas in July!  There are parts of the world that make a real celebration of it with Christmas trees, parties and gifts.

Here on the East Coast of the US, the temperature outside is forecast to be 106 degrees.  While I'm avoiding stepping outside at all costs, I'm going to reflect on Christmases past, imagine the chilly temps and maybe even listen to some Christmas music.

Hope you and yours have a great holiday!

My Top 8 Favorite Famous Journals

This post is a part of the 31 Days To Build a Better Blog Challenge.  Follow my progress here.

I love everything related to journaling.  I love filling my notebooks, I love picking out my next new notebook, and I love re-reading from my past journals.  I also love to learn how other people journal, and if given permission, I love to read other peoples' journals.

I have read the journals and diaries of many famous (and not so famous) people.  They range from US Presidents to writers to criminals; from young girls to old men.

I am fascinated at how the casual writings of George Washington and Virginia Woolf are not that much different from my own.  We all write about our accomplishments and failures, our fears and complaints and wishes.

Here is a list of my favorite famous journals:

1.  The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This diary is one that most everyone has heard of.  It's the diary kept by a young girl while her family was in hiding for two years during the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands.

2.  The Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath was an American poet and novelist from the 1960s.  She was also known as Victoria Lucas.  She kept her journals from age 11 through her death at 30.

3.  The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the 40th US President.  During his two terms President, he kept a daily diary by hand, recording his thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency.

4.  The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman by Sarah Morgan Dawson
Sarah Morgan began her diary when she was nineteen -- just nine months after the start of the Civil War.  Her record of the events during the war remains one of the most vivid, evocative portrayals in existence of a time and place that today make up a crucial chapter in our national history.

5.  The Diary of Virginia Woolf by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite authors.  She kept her diaries (all five volumes) from 1915 until 1941 and they contain her unguarded accounts of her writing efforts and personal life.

6.  The Broke Diaries: The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke by Angela Nissel
Angela Nissel was a poor and struggling college student at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her diaries, which started out on the internet (one of the first successful blogs maybe?), were a hilarious account of her struggles to feed herself and pay her bills.

7.  Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work by Joni Cole and B.K. Rakhra
The Water Cooler Diaries is a collection of on-the-job "day-in-the-life" chronicals from hundreds of women.  This is a look at what each of their days looked like on March 27, 2007.

8.  A Day at a Time: The Diary Literature of American Women Writers from 1764 to the Present edited by Margo Culley
This collection includes diaries composed over the past two centuries by 29 American women from different classes, social levels, and ethnic backgrounds.

Do you have a favorite journal or diary to read?  Please share them in the comments section!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Being an Imposter


Here in our part of the world it's just too darn hot to go outside to do anything.  I'm not even going to check the mail until after the sun goes down.  Summer's performance so far this year is causing it to move to the bottom of the list of my favorite seasons.  Autumn can't get here soon enough for me.

Today I am taking some time to catch up on Google Reader items.  I currently subscribe to 42 blogs, although that number changes frequently as I find others to follow, or decide to unsubscribe to one because it no longer suits me.  Anyway, I came across a post on the Procrastinating Writers blog that rang especially true for me. 

Kate Kennedy wrote about the "Imposter Syndrome."  She wanted to write, but was hesitant to call herself a writer.  How could she compare herself to those who were successfully pushing out volumes of work?

Absolutely everything she wrote was like a mirror image of my psychological self.  I have made several attempts at writing:  articles, blog entries, and even my first novel.  Yes, I've published a handful of articles for a content mill.  Yes, I've written posts for my own blogs.  And yes, I've even finished the first draft of my first novel.  But I haven't gotten much further than that.  I always run into road blocks.  And then I am left with friends and family asking me, "Hey, when are you going to publish another article?" or "I've noticed you haven't written a blog post in a while," or "When am I going to get to read that novel?"

So although I feel like writing runs through my veins -- I think about it all the time, I read about it all the time, I WANT to write -- I don't feel like I can call myself a Writer.  It makes me feel like a fraud.  It would be like someone driving fast on his way to work and then calling himself a race car driver.

So today I am revisiting my commitment to writing.  I am revisiting the reasons why I want to write, and I am even doing some writing, starting with this blog post.  And if I keep it going tomorrow, and then the next day, and then the next day, maybe I'll be on my way to earning the title, Writer.

Things I am grateful for this day:
1.  Air-conditioning
2.  Window blinds to keep out the hot sun
3.  My SubZero stainless steel water bottle filled with ice
4.  My Inspiron Mini Laptop