Happy New Year from All the Writers at Live to Write – Write to Live!
(and Rabbit Rabbit)
© Susan W. Nye, 2012
Happy New Year from All the Writers at Live to Write – Write to Live!
(and Rabbit Rabbit)
© Susan W. Nye, 2012
Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: ’Tis the season to get cozy with a mug of cocoa and a bowl of popcorn in front of the television for a Christmas classic or not-so-classic movie. White Christmas? Elf? Love Actually? What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Jamie Wallace: Don’t laugh, but my favorite Christmas movie of all time is The Muppet Christmas Carol. I mean – come on – does it get any better than this?
Lisa J. Jackson: I really like Christmas Town, because I’ve never lost my childhood belief that Santa is real and this movie is just a little thing that helps keep my belief alive. It takes place in a quaint little town called Hollyville and the big industry is N.P. Enterprises. I like the plays on words trickled throughout the dialogue, but mostly watching the mom in the story come back to believing about Christmas.
Diane MacKinnon: My favorite Christmas movie used to be A Christmas Story. My siblings and I can all quote many, many lines from that movie. But lately, I’d have to say, my favorite Christmas movie is Elf–I look forward to seeing it again every year.
Julie Hennrikus: Really, the question is what Christmas movies don’t I love. I love the story of A Christmas Carol, a lot. A couple of years ago I blogged about various versions, and rated them. Like Jamie, I am a Muppet Christmas Carol fan. I also like Scrooge, and the George C. Scott version. And I was fortunate enough to see Patrick Stewart do his fabulous one man Christmas Carol on stage twice. But I have other Christmas movies I love–White Christmas, The Bishop’s Wife, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Very Brady Christmas, Die Hard 1 & 2, Rankin and Bass Christmas shows, and an embarrassing number of Lifetime Christmas movies. And I will be checking out Christmas Town. I also have two Christmas trees in a one bedroom condo, so I am pretty hopeless.
Deborah Lee Luskin: Is there anyone else out there who doesn’t have a favorite? It’s not that there aren’t good ones out there; there must be. It’s just not a genre I watch. Every Christmas, I treat myself to my friend Archer Mayor’s latest Joe Gunther novel. I’m currently in the grips of Paradise City.
Gratitude is one of the best feelings we human beings can feel. When you are in a state of appreciation, you cannot at the same time be in a state of fear or lack. So focusing on gratitude can actually improve your day, your mood, and even your sleep. Studies have shown that making a gratitude list, even in your head, before sleep, gives people more and better sleep (this works for children, too.) For more fascinating information about the benefits of gratitude, read Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, by Robert Emmons.
In honor of the Day of Gratitude, I thought I’d offer a little gratitude exercise, especially for writers. I recommend you either print this out and fill in the blanks, as quick as you can, or just jot the answers in your journal as you read through the exercise.
Writer’s List of Gratitude
3 Books I Am Grateful Got Written So I Could Read Them (Okay, not great grammar, but you get me, right?)
3 People Who Support Me As A Writer (Even If Still Have a Day Job.)
3 Pieces I’m Glad I Wrote:
3 Places or Things That Support You As a Writer
3 Qualities You Love About Yourself As a Writer
Okay, that’s it. Fill this out as fast as you can and bask in your attitude of gratitude. Doesn’t it feel good?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Diane MacKinnon, MD, is thankful for the long holiday weekend and hopeful that she will be able to catch up on her word count for NaNo by Sunday night. She is hosting a Write-In on Saturday, November 24th, at Rodger’s Memorial Library in Hudson, NH, to join other like-minded individuals as they word sprint their way to a finished novel. If interested, or if you’d like more information, please click here.
Happy Presidents Day, everyone.
I put this picture up on my blog Lessons Learned from the Flock today because, well, it is Presidents Day and it’s more than appropriate (and besides all that, it’s drop-dead cute) .
Now though, I want to talk about this photo with regard to being a writer. When you write you have to constantly come up with new ideas. Sometimes that means paying attention (read the post on people watching) or just sitting back and observing how life unfolds. It means keeping a running list of things you want to write about and directions you want your story to go.
A very important tool for all writers is planning. We took this photo this past summer, a few days after our chicks were hatched (seriously, I think that chick is about 3 days old.) I went down to the basement and gathered as many holiday decorations as I could and my husband, Marc took a million pictures. The planning part is this, on holidays, I don’t necessarily have the time to write a detailed post (more often than not, the kids are home and I simply can’t, hey I want to have fun too) but I still want to maintain a connection with my readers. So I put up prepared themed photos on my blog.
It frees up some time while still keeping my audience engaged (which means I get to go out to lunch today.)
So, by all means enjoy the day, eat that cherry pie and don’t tell a lie, but also start thinking about how you can make your lives easier while still being a writer who writes.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens).
And yes, you’d better believe that we’ll be having cherry pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert tonight.
What do you give a writer? You can’t bottle inspiration, buying an agreeable agent would probably be out of your budget, and I don’t think the antidote for writer’s block has been discovered yet (though I’m betting a placebo would do just as well).
Have no fear. There are plenty of widely available and reasonably priced gift ideas for the writer(s) in your life. Here are my top 10 picks (which may or may not be on my own list).
Whatever gift you choose, something to do with writing and/or reading will let the scribe in your life know that you support that creative urge. That’s what we love to hear. So, merry-merry and happy-happy and good writing to all!
What was your favorite writerly gift ever – given or received?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.
Here it is, that time of year again, when it seems to take all our fortitude to avoid holiday hype, eat reasonably and actually enjoy our families – and yet somehow not lose the thread of our words.
There was a time, when my kids were young, when I would squander all my childcare hours sewing clothes for my daughters’ American Girl Dolls. In hindsight, I would have done better staying at my desk, not my sewing machine. Yes, the kids played with the clothes – for a day or a month or a year, who remembers? I wonder, now that my youngest is twenty, if I wouldn’t have been wiser to spend that time writing and therefore been less cranky when the daycare hours came to an end.
My holiday crankiness persisted, even as my children grew. With the pressure I felt “to make Christmas,” I put baking and decorating and gift-making and shopping ahead of my writing – and this at a time when I was working for pay in an office and getting up early to write.
Ironically, now that I am able to write for as long as I can sit at my desk, I’m also able to keep writing during the holidays, even with a dozen guests in the house. It helps that I have a separate space to retreat to – a room of my own where I do nothing but write. It also helps that I’m an early riser, and can sneak off to my desk while the household snores.
This past week, with anywhere between twelve and twenty at table starting Tuesday and lasting through the weekend, I was still able to put in one to two hours every morning, and arrive in the kitchen just as the second pot of coffee was brewing. An hour or two isn’t much – but it’s something. It means that I was able to hold on to the narrative thread I’ve been knitting, and I’ve returned to my desk Monday morning without having to unravel chapter after chapter to pick up a dropped stitch.
Staying in touch with my characters and the alternate reality of my fiction for even an hour a day was soothing, and I found myself enjoying my children and our friends as never before. With a chance to visit my imaginary universe every morning, I was able to be the gracious hostess afternoons and evenings. Despite so many people in the house – and so many meals to prepare – I never resented the onslaught of visitors who stopped by or stayed over. It was perhaps the first time I really enjoyed my own house party. And I credit it all to staying in touch with my prose.
Being able to return to work on Monday without having to backtrack is an added bonus. I was able to sit down at my desk Monday morning – and stay there till lunch time. After lunch, I returned, putting in my first full day of work in a week. Instead of an interruption, Thanksgiving was a hiatus, filled with good food and good conversation, a few leisurely walks, and the annual bonfire.
Not everyone will be able to sneak away for an hour on holiday mornings – and not everyone will want to. But for those writers who are anchored to the world by their words on a page, I highly recommend figuring out a way to write – for five for fifteen or fifty minutes – even with a houseful of guests or a young family or at your in-laws’. It’s the habit of writing that matters; it’s the habit that keeps us toned, so that we can break out in literary flourishes when time and circumstance allow.
I’d love to know how other people maintain their writing selves during the upheaval of holidays from the end of November through the end of the year. Please let me know.
Deborah Lee Luskin is the author of the award-winning novel, Into The Wilderness, “a fiercely intelligent love story” set in Vermont in 1964. She is a regular Commentator on Vermont Public Radio and teaches for the Vermont Humanities Council. Learn more at her website: www.deborahleeluskin.com
On Friday Fun last week we all did a gratitude post. Since it is the day before Thanksgiving, I thought I’d hit the theme again.
Did anyone else do a Gratitude Journal after reading Simple Abundance? It called for writing down five things you are truly grateful for daily. No matter what the day was like. For me, the journaling ceased, but the practice hasn’t. So, let me take a moment and make a list for my writing life. I am grateful for:
A baker’s dozen of gratitude. An incomplete list, but one I will continue to work on through the holidays.
Happy Thanksgiving dear readers.
J.A. Hennrikus J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus is the Executive Director of StageSource. She is a mystery writer who will have her story “Her Wish” published by Level Best Books this fall. She is a huge social media fan, and tweets under @JulieHennrikus. She wrestles with allusions of athleticism, is an avid theatre goer and a proud member of Red Sox nation. Her website is jahennrikus.com. Her short story, “Tag, You’re Dead” was published by Level Best Books in Thin Ice, an anthology of crime stories by New England writers. Julie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. She is a board member of the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime.
The L2W-W2L Writers are enjoying a day off. Hope you are too!
© Susan W. Nye, 2011
This photograph was originally taken for and posted on my photoblog.
Susan Nye is a writer, blogger, photographer and chef. Her favorite topics are family, food, green living, marketing and branding. She invites you to take a minute to learn about her philanthropic project Eat Well – Do Good.