I hope today finds you with a little extra time on your hands for reading and writing. The past few weekends have been a bit more jam packed than I like. Though I’m very grateful to have work in the queue, being busy has left me longing for a day with no To Do List and no agenda. Unstructured time has been hard to come by, and I miss it. Though I pride myself on good project and time management skills, these days my faithful Google calendar looks less like an orderly system and more like a crazy quilt. There are far too many instances of items overlapping and hour-long tasks being shoe-horned into thirty-minute slots. (If only I could learn to write faster …)
Still, even the busiest day holds pockets of quiet and small pleasures. Despite the pack of deadlines and duties nipping at my heels, I have managed a steal a few moments here and there to read. I’ve also been enjoying thrice daily walks with a couple of elderly dogs whose slow pace forces me to throttle my own engines down.
The dogs are clients of my daughter’s dog-walking business, but since many of the walks for this assignment take place during school hours I’m filling in. It was frustrating, at first, to have to accommodate the dogs’ step-stop-snif-step-stop approach to “walking,” but once I surrendered to their snail-like style I found that it was actually very relaxing. The forced almost-stillness drew me out of my own racing thoughts to a space where I could hear the birds singing and the river flowing, where I noticed the early blooms along the path and in my neighbors’ gardens, where I felt the tinge of soft warmth hidden in the chilly breeze and smelled the earthy scent of spring flexing her muscles. I even had the pleasure of watching two crows have a very enthusiastic bath in the shallows along the riverbank.
I wish you a space and leisure this Sunday. I wish you a few hours of time unencumbered by obligations or chores. And I hope you have the good sense to use that time to do whatever most nurtures your writer’s soul, be that writing, planning, reading, or daydreaming.
What I’m Reading:
Since I’ve only managed to sneak in short reading sessions this week, I haven’t had time to finish either of the books I’m reading, but I do have a short read to share:
A friend’s Facebook post led me to the Boston Globe piece, Cambridge fixture Dorothy Steele’s life of warmth by Eric Moskowitz. I was immediately taken in by the story which seemed part fairytale, part urban myth, and – sadly – part tragedy. As the media inundate us with often biased coverage of world events and national politics, I took refuge in this story about an individual whom most would consider a “nobody.” Everyone has a story, and every story matters. I’m so glad that the Globe chose to run this piece and that Moskowitz did such a wonderful job capturing a tiny slice of this woman’s life.
My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- How to Make Your Novel Universal by @SPressfield
- Grab your audience’s attention with the XY Story Formula by @jccabel
- Relevant by @DonMaass
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- Study: Poor Writing Skills Are Costing Businesses Billions by @kaleighf
- What It Takes: The Why of Pitching — and the Five Constants by @CallieOettinger
- The Top 5 Lessons I’ve Learned After Reading 500+ Self-Help Books by Susie Moore
- 7 Fun and Easy Warm Ups to Start Your Writing Day by @pamelaiwilson
- This Is the Best Advice on Motivation I Have Ever Read by Melissa Dahl
- 10 inspiring female writers you need to read by @martabausells
- What Do You Need to Bloom? by @maiatoll
THE WRITING LIFE
- How the subconscious mind shapes creative writing by @CharlotteSeager
- How to Battle Impostor Syndrome: Owning Your Writing as Art by @marianryanese
- How to Handle Criticism: Advice from Some of the Greatest Writers of the Past Century via @brainpickings
- A Warehouse of Stories via @audible
In my online wanderings this week, I came across the work of artist and photographer, Jane Long. While her entire portfolio is lovely, I was particularly taken with a series of photographs that she created by digitally manipulating the images of Romanian war photographer, Costica Ascinte. In her collection, Dancing with Costica, she reimagines the people in Ascinte’s stark photographs in surreal and magical worlds.
I have always been inspired by the visual arts. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I love looking at a photograph, painting, or sketch and trying to create a character or build a world around the image I see. The picture may be an expansive and deeply detailed one that is full of obvious possibilities, or it may be just a small fragment that only hints at a shadow of a story. Either way, the exercise is one I never tire of.
Finally, a quote for the week:
Happy reading. Happy writing. Here’s to finding pockets of comfort and inspiration in even your busiest days.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.