Dialing It In This Week With Awesome Link Love


I am writing this during a quick break from writing. I sent both of my children off with their father this afternoon. (He did get a little wild eyed when I told him he was taking both of them with him to the boat shop but had the good sense not to protest). As soon as they were gone I danced over to the cupboard, broke out the piece of pecan pie/cake/most delicious thing I ever ate that I was hiding and sat down with my laptop to continue working on my Turkey motorcycle adventure book. (Yes, the very same one I have been threatening to either start or finish for about 4 years now). I have to admit, I feel more human after an hour alone with my laptop and writing than I have the entire week combined. And since I want to write and I have the time to write, I want to use it to write my book rather than blog posts. But I feel I must share these two articles that nailed not only the feelings I have been having (the past week in particular, but in varying degree always!) for anyone who may have missed them otherwise. They are

I Give Myself Permission


The Unworthy Worthy Mother

Must reads for mothers, but really anyone who is a caregiver in any way. You are not alone and it is nice to know that!




Ripping Pages, Smashing Keyboards Or Attempting To Write Around a Baby


small baby eating paper

That is not blood oozing onto paper, it is his sister’s picture of my birthday cake. That’s not why he is eating it though. He just loves paper destruction.

I want to laugh out loud at the amateur mistake I made a couple of weeks ago stating that I would return to regular blogging in just a couple of days time. I, who already have a 2 year old, dared to declare that I had intentions of doing something on a regular basis. And then 2 weeks of flu ripped through our apartment as brother, sister and father passed it back and forth. Only I was left standing. (And here is to hoping it remains that way. That was not a taunt universe! I have learned my lesson from the last post!)

Me, 2 weeks ago, excited to sit down and write during what appeared to be a now regular nap time. Yes there is crap all over the place, but if I cleaned that up too I would never write at all.


Finding time to write as a mother is hard. Scratch that. Finding time to do anything as a mother is hard. At least when it involves doing it childfree. Doing something for yourself while you have a small baby in your care, particularly a clingy one, is near on impossible. Whatever I give Kai to distract him is not nearly as interesting as what I myself am working on.

Hence the title, because be it if I am writing in a notebook or tapping away at the keyboard, Kai goes all Smashing Keyboard, Ripping Paper on me.

There are days when I want to sit down and cry at the unfairness of it all. I can barely get time for the bathroom let alone to sit down and work on my writing projects. There are other days when I take it and roll with it. I have a zen like approach where I think that I need to accept that having a person under the age of 12 months in my care and without any family to help out means this year will be a year to plot and plan rather than execute. Then my daughter starts to cry because she pulled her sock off and now can’t get it back on and I want to sit down next to her and join her.

But this is not a whining post. At least that is not my purpose in writing it!

I wanted to share why it has been quiet as well as to be honest about the emotional extremes of being a mother (who writes). I get whiplash from the intense highs and despairing lows that I can experience from one second to the next. Baby sleeping: heart breaks from love. Baby wakes up 10 minutes later and won’t go back to sleep, eye starts to twitch.


Rather than whine, I wanted to share that the past year has driven home to me just how much I want to write. And how if you really want to do it you will. Maybe not during the hours you envisioned, maybe not in the fashion you hoped (say not showered, in puked on pjs and with a slightly desperate air as the tock ticks towards that first high pitched scream of a baby waking up to his mama missing as opposed to sipping a latte, smelling of perfume rather than sour milk and wearing *I cant help but smirk as I type this* a scarf and earrings without the fear of them being used to inflict – perhaps permanent- injury).

Although I am getting less writing done than I want, I am writing. A lot of it has been in the form of jot notes and outlines as opposed to word count. And yet, this year is the year that 3 separate fiction plotlines have progressed beyond idea and have me actually excited to flesh them out. I am not sure which one will be first, but it doesn’t matter. This year, which I have been thinking of as the lost year of creative output, may in fact be the year that taught me the importance of outlining, structure and planning in order to keep a fiction project alive.

It also pushed me to invest in my writing. Listening to podcasts while taking care of my son is how I spend most of my day. And so I decided to plunk down the 500 and bought Joanna Penn’s Creative Freedom Course. That is not an affiliate link. But if you are serious about moving your writing from hobby to job then I can not recommend it highly enough. And you can listen while walking a baby. And write in your workbook while they sleep.

That insane juggling act of trying to soak up every moment while realizing that you need time to be you too. Being a mother just means your heart is aching from love or loss at all times. No wonder we are all slightly to overtly crazy.


I guess the point of this post is to declare to myself and the world that instead of trying to fight the crazy I am going to try to accept working within it. That I can not control everything and I have to stop trying. And that acceptance is key of being a mother who writes. As well as having notebooks in every room with pens next to them so you can scratch out your ideas in the precious moments allotted. If you wait for the perfect time you will never write. I think that is a lesson I keep learning over and over again.

Regular Blogging To Resume Next Week

(I hope)

But I have a 6 1/2 month old who loves to be in my arms. So my PLAN is to start blogging again next week, as it appears that he is finally (and consistently) napping for an entire hour. This week will be spent trying to catch up on all those things I’ve been wanting to do but are impossible to do with a 20 pound human attached to your torso. If this nap schedule holds I hope to get a post out during one of those hours on a weekly basis.

Until then head over to Unleash to see a picture summary of our 2 month sailing adventure around Denmark and Northern Germany and for a blog I am in love with for fail proof, easy and kid friendly recipes (that still are delicious and healthy!) head over to Taking Little Bites!


2015-06-30 19.38.52


The Business Of Writing

But I don’t want to learn the business of writing and you can’t make me!


Writing Excuses, a podcast hosted by Brandon Sanderson and 3 other writers, is a fantastic podcast for anyone who writes or wishes to do so. They are short (15 mins is the aim) and they cover everything from pacing to the writing life. It has been produced since 2008, so if you are new to it there is a lot of ground to cover (and completely worth it).  I really love this one from early in their first season on going pro: The Business Of Writing. In particular they talk about the changes in their personal lives and within their families. This is something I think we often skip over when we talk about the business of getting down to write. It is not just about writing prompts or even stressing to ourselves the “butt in chair” philosophy.  We need to stress to our loved ones that we are writing rather than goofing off and that we need to place strong boundaries down to protect that time. Not just from ourselves, but our loved ones as well. And it is reassuring to see that even the pros struggle(d) with just that. (And how they separate themselves into a business persona and an artist one).

They also talk about the hit to the standard of living that most of us take when we turn to writing full time. Then they stress how the quality of life went up. And I just love that. I think this is something I tried to stress in my writing workbooks. I do not advocate quitting your job unless you have the financial cushion to do so. I do feel that we can do it sooner if we are willing to give up some of our “stuff”.  Less stuff, more writing and more happiness. Win win win!  :-)

And Brandon’s overnight success took 8 years. Remember that as you write. Writing is fun but it is also work. Except you have no idea if and when the work is going to pay actual dollars. So you really want to have explored all options and to be emotionally and financially prepared for the various scenarios. Especially if you want to live from it. (This is something I am presently working through. More importantly, I am trying not to make like the above turtle, who insisted on hanging out in the middle of the road somewhere in Turkey, and whom even after we rescued it from the middle of said road, turned around to head back onto it.) Writing does not have to be for profit, but if it is to be so, you can not hide behind the artist label.

So enjoy the podcast (I’d embed it but either they do not allow it or I just can not figure out how. So instead of wasting time attempting it follow the above link or click here and enjoy it.)

Writing As A Mother & An Expat: An Interview With Kristen Faber

17223292360_8875132623_o Since the birth of my son things have been a little quiet on the site (as well as on the writing front period). With Kai about to be 3 months old I find myself having more time to start writing again. I had forgotten how time intensive a newborn is. Now that he is beginning to settle into a routine I am doing the same.  And to kick off my return to blogging I have a great interview with Kristen Faber on writing, traveling and doing it all as a mother (and whose subject happens to be her family.) She is the author of The Long White Cloud: The Year in New Zealand That Changed Our Family Forever (which you can buy on Amazon or read for free if you are a subscriber to Kindle Unlimited) or you can check out her family run blog http://www.notinert.blogspot.com/

1. What made you decide to write a book about your family moving to New Zealand?

From the first moment I could hold a pencil, I began writing letters. I had pen-pals around the world. I would wait excitedly for a letter to arrive in the mailbox, then run to my room to spend the evening sharing my life on paper with my friend. When we moved to New Zealand, we wanted a way we could share our experiences with our friends. A blog was a natural way to have the whole family involved and it also created a sort of scrapbook that held all of our memories. Friends often commented how much they enjoyed my writing style and the stories we shared. I read a travel book/memoir while in New Zealand that sort of turned me off. I finally put it down and said, “I could do better than this.” I tucked that thought away for a rainy day. I visited the idea every once in awhile, but it took a period of absolute boredom and some literal rainy days to embark on this new type of adventure. It was an emotional process. I often found myself wandering around the house or standing there with a handful of chocolate chips when I meant to be writing.

Sherrie: I totally relate to that! Everything you said, but especially the emotional process of wandering around and avoiding writing, only I eat M&Ms instead! (And yes that is in the present as I still do it. I always thought that once I got one book out the rest would be easy. Ha! Talk about lying to yourself!)

2. Why did you decide to self-publish?

Writing is a hobby for me. Oh sure, little thoughts of creating a best seller pop into my mind from time to time, but they aren’t realistic. I pursued traditional publishing for a small amount of time, got a bit of interest from a few agents, but in the end, my book was too narrow a focus for what they were looking for. I didn’t want to kill my love for writing, so I decided to self-publish. It keeps things more in my own control at this point. Maybe, in the future, I will have a book that I really want to traditionally publish, but in the meantime I’m taking advantage of learning many things through this process.

 Sherrie: That was a big reason why I decided to self-publish as well. I saw how people like Johanna Penn were able to turn their writing into their own business where they were calling the shots. It did not mean traditional was off limits, but it did allow for the freedom to charge on in and learn as you create. For me the biggest problem is juggling writing with promoting and of course family! Which leads me to my next very important question!

3. How did you find the time to write?

Writing time was a bit like a rainy season, then a drought due to the events in my life. When I move, I don’t have much time to write. After we are settled and I’m still looking for a job, I have lots of time to write. For me, it was keeping the dream alive and not loosing it when life got overly busy.

Kristen’s daughter with a fish caught by a village in the Amazon

fish caught in the amazon4. How long did the project take?

It took me two years of writing, with a six month moving break in there and then another year of revising and editing. It’s still a continuing process as I learn how to market the book.

Sherrie: I love that even with a six month break you never quit. I really think that is something we need to remember. That we can always return to our work. So often I think we figure that since we have not worked on a project there is no point anymore. Yet it is only if we abandon it completely will it never be written!

5. What do your family think about you writing about their experiences?

Everyone is so proud of me. It’s been a family process with each member editing and giving suggestions. My daughter carried the copy she was working on around school and told all her friends about my project. It made me feel good to have so much love and support from my family. They have been my cheerleaders along the way! I was very careful in my writing to keep a positive spin on all of our experiences. I would never want my husband or children to be hurt about what I wrote, no matter how honest it was. All the passages with struggle deal with my thoughts and emotions in specific circumstances. I think my kids love seeing some of the things that mom dealt with in this journey. Possibly they had some comfort in knowing that mom struggled with some of the same things they did.

Sherrie: So true! I find it can be difficult to know what to write when it comes to your family (that applies to blogging as well as books). I think in the end hurting those you love is not worth it. And there are so many layers and truths to a story like this one, you can write about challenges and struggles from your viewpoint without exploiting those you care about.

6. How did you choose what to write about?

I used our family blog and photographs to trigger memories of our experiences. From there I tried to go deeper, moving beyond our experiences to history and information about the country and culture. The book is about me, but it is so much more of an education of a people and country. Because of this, things came out in a very linear timeline type approach. One of my beta readers suggested I take another look at the order and refine it. I didn’t know exactly how to do this, so I printed out a copy of the book and taped it up in a line, snaking through the house. I kept a roll of tape and scissors nearby and over the next several weeks I literally cut and pasted my book into order that would flow better for the reader.

Sherrie: I am presently working on a book about our motorcycle trip from Germany to Turkey and back and I want to approach it in a similar manner; not just what we did and saw but information on the history and of the countries we visited and particularly the food. It can be difficult with a memoir not to let it fall into strict journaling. It may  have been great for you, but less so for a reader. It is not so easy to avoid that trap however!  I really like the idea of printing out the book and cutting and pasting it in such a visual way. I will try that once my first draft is finished. (Like The Long White Cloud, my Turkey book is one that is taking years to complete!)

7. You now live in Moscow. Do you think you will write a book about that experience?

Our experience in New Zealand was unique because we were surrounded by the culture and had the freedom to explore the country. The places we have lived in since (Bogota, Colombia and Moscow, Russia) have required many restrictions because of my husband’s job. Language has also created a huge barrier. I feel I have had amazing experiences, but I am lacking in knowing the heart of the country. I don’t want to stop writing, I just need to find something that will pour from my heart.

  Sherrie: Well I for one hope you continue writing! Thanks for the great insights and I will be following your blog! 

Facing The Fear of Creating

This is such a great talk (and a short one!) on why we are ALL creative and how to claim some of that creativity back.

The fear of creating is such a real block. I am currently struggling with this even now. Not just in terms of writing, although there I am continuously getting better and better (and lo and behold, doing it really does make the next time easier!) but in other areas as well. At the moment what is looming large and extremely difficult for me is a series of videos I want to make to go along with my 7 Day Creativity Jumpstart Workbook. I feel like such an idiot! First off, talking to the video camera makes me feel silly. Only slightly less silly than when someone is behind the camera. (Patrick and I did some videos for our first motorcycle trip together from Germany to Turkey and back. I felt like an ass then too! Even more so if possible because someone was witnessing me in real time.) And so many things go through my head.

No one cares what you have to say!

You stumble and make mistakes! Those that do care are going to think you are a moron and stop listening!

You can see your daughter’s things in the background. How unprofessional!

Even without the toys and children’s posters in the background, this thing is sooooo not professional.

You sound nasally! (But probably better than when you are not congested because then your voice skyrockets 6 octaves!)

People will see this!

Nobody will see this!

And the list goes on and on on and on! And I have to step back, and remind myself what I remind others.

That you do your best, release and do better next time.

That I am not going for perfect and polished, I am going for me, and I am very far from perfect or polished! But that does not mean I do not deserve a creative life or that I shouldn’t encourage others to claim it for themselves!

Anyone who doesn’t like it doesn’t have to like it. Most will move on and never think of it again. Some will offer constructive criticism. All of that is ok. Anyone who wants to be mean about what I produce has an issue that has nothing to do with me and everything that has to with themselves. I should not let mean spirited people stop me.

And so I am, albeit painfully, working on the videos. And although like everything they are taking longer than I thought they would, they are coming along! Hopefully they will be finished before Berlin Baby The Sequel makes his appearance and I can schedule them as a series of blogposts. And if not, then at least they are started and I am challenging myself. My family is fed and we have shelter. Things could be much worse. :-)


Book Review Of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I am in love with this book. I am now a card carrying member of the cult of KonMari and I am not afraid to shout it out to the rooftops. I am also not afraid to say that The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is not without its faults. But I do feel that a lot of the reviewers who have written Marie Kondo and her work off as “bat shit crazy” or the equivalent are missing out on what the book truly has to offer. Which is less about talking to your stuff and much more about respecting how you treat the objects in your life and moving away from an over reliance on stuff.

It is about letting go of what you don’t want and instead surrounding yourself with objects that give you joy. If it does not make you happy it has got to go. This strikes fear and terror into the hearts of our stuff obsessed society.  And so it is easy to write the book off as a crazy lady who wants you to talk to plants and purses. That way you do not need to confront how much you have of which you do not truly want.

It is easy to get caught up on the details rather than the message. It is true that Marie Kondo is obsessed. Yet I find it wonderful that she was able to turn her personality quirk for the love of neatness into a full fledged business and now a world wide best seller. But even beyond that, the parts of the book where she writes about talking to her belongings and thanking them for jobs well done is less about getting to write her off as a nutter because she does this, and more about taking the reasoning behind it.  So, am I about to thank my clothes at the end of the day for a job well done? No. But did she make me think about how I treat my objects as things with permanence and worthy of putting care and effort into? Yes. And if they are not worthy of putting the effort of care into them, why do I have these things anyway?

Kondo does not say that everyone should read her book and therefore will live a happy life. In fact she says you can have a total mess of a house and be happy. Her only question then is why you would buy her book if you are in that situation. So she assumes if you are interested in her book it is because you want a neater and more tidier environment. A fair enough assumption I feel. (And she also encourages you to use her method on her book if it fails to spark joy, so she is not a hypocrite!).

And if you feel the need to tidy your house and get rid of clutter she feels she can also help you change your life in the process. Not because you are tidying all the time. She argues very much against this.

If you are tidying all the time you have done something wrong. Rather you should take her method, really and truly tidy your house, and be done with it. Afterwards you will not have to go back as instead of a method of storing things away, her way is more of a philosophy of why to keep things or get rid of them. This method is not about storing things you might like to keep or might have need for. In this day and age if you truly need it you can buy it when you need it. And 99% of the time we never need it. We just fear we might. Or we keep it from the guilt of hurting someone else who may have given us the item. Or worse, because we bought it and never wore/used it. And this is one place where I agreed with her talking to your belongings. I was finally able to throw away clothes that I bought on sale and then never wore but could never part with because I paid the money for it. Thank it for the thrill of the purchase and for teaching you about the dangers of buying things because they are on sale. Move on!

Instead, it is this conscious approach to your surroundings that make the positive impact on your life. You are no longer a sleep walker numbed by the evidence of all of your stuff. You have consciously built a home of things that bring you joy. The rest is discarded.

And as someone who spent the weekend on clothing alone, if you decide to undertake this task, it is not something done in a couple of hours. This takes weeks to months. And I think that is fine. People who promise overnight miracles are full of bullshit. And it does require you to really examine your feelings towards your surroundings. And you may find in your purging of your things that your life is not aligned to what you truly want. And that requires change. So ignoring it and calling her nuts is probably easier.

And maybe you are  happy and just want a home that is more clutter free and in tune with who you are. Which is what I wanted when I decided to try the book out. With a second baby coming and the plan to spend 2 months this summer on a boat, I thought a book about decluttering would be right up my alley. What I found was a philosophy on what I should keep (and in the future buy!) that allowed me to part with the objects of my past that belong there and a wake up call to how I treat my objects and what I surround myself with.

Even if I won’t be thanking my objects for a job well done, I will be thanking Marie Kondo for helping me part with my stuff guilt free and downsize even further. So that what I have is what I love. And when you are surrounded by what you love you can not help but have those steps taken towards true happiness. 

How Do I Handle A Bad Book Review?

my dog still loves me

Don’t look at me I am writing! Such a deep and dark secret! Even worse, someone on the internet doesn’t like it. The shame and the horrors.

sherrie writing in mongolia

Bad reviews can be soul crushing and the very thought of them were a massive roadblock to my wanting to write. Even if writing it out now makes me laugh, the thought of someone not liking my work scared me. Seeing how others (both far superior in talent to myself as well as worse) received nasty reviews and not only survived but even continued to publish gave me the courage to let my fears fall to the wayside and put myself out there. (It also helps when you have a German partner who never lets up and pushes you at all times). And like every other author out there on the planet, I did receive some bad reviews. I also received good and even a couple of great reviews.

And yet it was the bad review that took up residence in my head. It’s weight so out of proportion.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the good reviews outnumber the bad. That they exist hurt. And for me it was not just that they had something hurtful about my book. It was that other people were also going to read that about my book. People who would laugh at me.

Suddenly I found myself in junior high again, on the one hand with no interest or desire to be in the popular crowd, and yet hating it when one of them felt the need to single you out for whatever offence they deemed you had committed.

There was a reason why I wrote this as the lead in to the book description for Unleash Your Writer: A Workbook To Help You Start & Finish Your Writing Projects:

“Writing is far too often the unachievable dream or the dirty little secret of too many writers. The reasons are many and can include everything from a lack of time to the paralyzing terror that everyone is going to laugh at you. The wonders of the Internet and the self-publishing revolution mean not only are your dreams closer than ever before – so are the distractions. So you can convince yourself that even if you had the time you are not that special brand of masochist who would chance having your high school bully read your work before mocking it on Facebook for all to see.”

Because that is exactly what used to keep me from wanting to publish. Why expose myself not only to strangers, but also to those that know me?

Day 10:  Reading While Waiting For The German

Of course I could have used a pseudonym. But that is a topic for another time. The point is I did eventually get past the fear of bad reviews. And now I barely even read my reviews, good or bad. And when I do I go into it with the intention of learning how to be a better writer. That is not to say I play to readers no matter what the cost. But if everyone is saying the book is badly edited or boring, well, they may be on to something I can then use to improve my next book. So every couple of months I look at my reviews keeping the following in my head:

This is just someone’s opinion.

Is it even a fair assessment? So far there is only one review for Unleash Your Writer, and although I can take some of it and apply it, I really feel she missed the point of the book. I can’t change that. What I can do is try to stop others from having the same experience. This means rewriting the description to further highlight the book is not about coming up with ideas or how to structure a story, and IS about digging into what is emotionally stopping you from writing so you can past your excuses.

Can I learn from the review? (As in keep doing what they liked and stop doing what they didn’t?) If not, move on. It is just an opinion. And sometimes one that is less about giving honest feedback and more about venting rage that they feel they could have done better but didn’t. Do not engage.

I don’t recommend reading all your reviews, at least not on a regular basis. But the occasional check in to see what is being said can be important. Your reviewer might have a valid point. One that you can then use to improve your next book. Or you might find they are completely off the wall and you might have to find yourself reexamining your book blurb to see if you can be clearer as to who this book is for.

And in the end, a bad review can even be good!

Internet rejection and bashing is actually what made me seek out Martha Beck. And now I love the woman. And although I am not a romance fan at all, I loved reading this interview with Ruth Ann Nordin on the Smashwords blog about how she almost gave up because of the hurtful 1 and 2 star reviews she received. But she let the people who loved her work win out. It really inspired me and made me remember that not everyone is going to like your work. And some of those people are going to write mean and horrible reviews. But my experience has been those who write mean reviews are writing from a mean place. And you shouldn’t listen to them. Those who write an honest review, even if it stings, leave you with valuable advice for next time, and then you need to let it go. Next time you will do better.

And it is always better to learn and continue with your path and what makes you happy than to let others derail you. Because those people move on and do not think about you anymore. And you are the one left changing your life for fear of what someone said once and forgot about, even if the internet remembers it.

No one else is dwelling on it. You shouldn’t either.

My dog still loves me. And my toddler, but I think that only applies til she’s a teenager…



Trial: My Writing Workbooks On Kindle Select

I have decided to do a trial and put my writing workbooks on Kindle Select. At the moment only the 7 Day Creativity Jumpstart is available. But Unleash Your Writer will be up as soon as it is out of extended distribution on Smashwords. After refusing to put a single book ever into Kindle Select you may be wondering why I have decided to do it now, at the very moment when most people are saying that the select program is failing authors and kindle unlimited even more so.

It is true that I am not a big fan of exclusivity and the books will not remain permanent features on the site. When I started to self-publish I was ecstatic at what Amazon was offering and the new world of publishing it opened up. I did not delude myself into thinking that Amazon was a self-publisher’s best friend. They want to make money and they will do it whatever way they can. Sometimes that will benefit independent authors and other times it will not. My advice is to educate yourself as best as possible and then make educated decisions on what you think will best benefit you and your author’s platform. And having as many venues for readers to find you as possible just seems like sound and reasonable advice.

Which leads me to why I have decided to close some of those opportunities for discovery.

Unlike my motorcycle travel memoirs, the workbooks are not selling on any of the other platforms. So although I am closing the chance of discovery for a few months, I am not shutting down an income stream. I want to use the select program as a tool and see if by utilizing the free days I can get my books into the hands of more people. And from there find out if the workbook market is just a much harder market to break into, or if I just have not found my readers in that market yet. I am also hoping that with the free days I can capitalize on getting some more reviews. The 7 Day Creativity has no reviews as of the moment, which can be a killer when people are deciding if they should buy the book or not. And Unleash Your Writer only has one, and a dismal one at that! I plan on writing a post about bad reviews and what we can learn from them next week. But in this case 90% of the review was less something I can take and use and more that she did not read the description of what the book was about.  It happens, but with only one review, and that one being a 1 star at that, no one is going to buy that book. Or at least very few people. So I would rather take it out, offer it for free, and see if it really is the book or if it is one reader who is angry that she did not get the writing prompts I specifically said were not in the book in the first place.

But more on that next week. I am off to work on my still in first draft of our trip to Turkey and back by motorcycle ebook. I was really hoping to have that draft finished before Berlin Baby The Sequel: This Time it’s A Boy arrived! Its looking less likely, but not impossible.

People like motorcycles better than books about why you may have your creativity blocked. Or at the very least they like talking about them more. But it turns out I like writing about creativity more! So I guess I will just continue to do both!

Day 84:  Back To Russia!



Why This Ex-Pat Writer Mommy Is Not Making Resolutions This New Year

expat writer mommy no resolutions

I want to write that a new year is the perfect time for new beginnings. But that is just lazy thinking and writing. A new beginning can be made at any time. And they are created from moment to moment and not from a complete break from the past or the need for a new calender. The fact that most people have abandoned their new year resolutions by February just goes to show that a new year is less about a perfect time for a new beginning and more about the illusion that it is.

And let’s be fair to ourselves. Breaking from our past is rather hard, as it makes up who we are. Instead, working with the past, learning and relearning from it, and trying to remain as conscious as possible about the process, that is the harder, but truer, path.

Or at least I believe so! And that can be started at any time, although it needs to be constantly attended to. We need to be reminded we are only human. And setting goals and forcing high standards of change while beating myself into submission seems like, well, soul sucking rather than soul enhancing work.

And so that is why I am not making any resolutions this new year. I want my year to be soul enhancing rather than sucking. I am going to try and follow through on what I love and practice self-forgiveness rather than beating myself up when I slip up. I am going to try to embrace my writing and enjoy the process rather than fretting I am not doing enough or being enough. I am going to accept that being a mother separated from her mother by an ocean means I am allowed to accept a dip in productivity.

I also get to accept that when I feel guilty sometimes it is because I know I am indulging in behaviour that does not ring true with the “ideal me” and sometimes it’s just because being a mother did not come with a manual. And even if it had, let’s face it,  I probably would have disagreed with all of it and tossed it out the window to do it my way anyway. And that brings uncertainty, which is often the price you have to pay to walk your own path. But then you also get to be rewarded with the joy that comes with finding that sweet spot that lets you touch happiness you have defined for yourself. (It doesn’t always stay, but at least you know how to fumble towards it again!)

As a mother or a writer I often have no idea what I am doing. But this year I am practising forgiveness and enjoying the ride. No resolutions, just mindful practice of my life.


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