Over the last few week or so I’ve finally started writing again. What was I waiting for? I’m not quite sure, but I do know this: I missed it. It isn’t that I haven’t written at all since the pandemic, it is just that I’ve been selective and focused on other things.
So, why do I keep coming back to writing? There are so many reasons …
- It is my creative outlet.
Some people make beautiful music, others play sports, and yet others draw or paint. I am not good at any of those things. Writing is something I can do fairly well. I know how to improve. It is a nice mix of being able to accomplish something and yet striving to make it the best it can be. If I tried to play a musical instrument, I would want to give up before I could get anywhere.
- It allows me to practice the art of storytelling.
Both of my parents are wonderful storytellers. There is nothing I love more than a good story (hence my love of reading). In my opinion, there is something comfortable about writing down a story before perfecting the art of telling it to others. Writing allows me to get it right before I share it with others.
- I can curate many of my favorite things – and share that them with others.
Blogging can be so much fun. I actually started “blogging” before it was known as blogging. I used to use an online notebook/diary to keep track of my favorite websites, poems, photos, memes, and more. I have enough content now that I can go back and reread things I wrote years ago. Some of which I have long since forgotten. It is always fun and gives me ideas for future projects.
- It is a challenge.
The writing process is never quite finished. At some point, it is time to let go. Frankly, like a good challenge. As with so many things, I know just enough to be dangerous!
- It goes hand in hand with another favorite pastime – reading.
I’ve always loved books. In fact, I’ve written extensively about my first love – books! I outline some of my favorite childhood books here. My love of writing, as with so many others, grew out of my love of reading. I can’t imagine trying to separate the two. In fact, I’ve thought about starting a book podcast, just for fun! I’ve read so many great books this year. I have yet to discuss any of them here.
The reasons why I write – and my love of writing – is a topic I revisit from time to time. You can read earlier posts here, here, and here.
My cousin Ellen Vrana has a wonderfully rich, intellectual, yet somehow unstuffy, blog called The Examined Life. It is wonderful, and if I am honest, intimidating as a fellow writer. She happens to live in London with her family and discusses just about anything one can imagine.
I refuse to settle. I refuse to give up on my dreams. It is that simple and that complex. What I want out of life has been on my mind so much lately, especially when it comes to family. The beautiful part of it all is that I will be fine no matter what happens. Inspired by former classmates who have shared their intense personal struggles, I would love to do something similar here.
That said, I want to make a few things clear. I’m not going to dwell on the past. I have no intention of airing dirty laundry – or anything that involves anyone other than me. It will be my story that I will share here. As I have stated earlier in other deeply personal posts, my intention here is to help others not feel so alone. Nothing more, nothing less.
Now that that is out of the way, here is what I envision for Rambling of a Misguided Blonde moving forward. I want to largely focus on three things I adore: 1. Writing and the writing process; 2. Reading, including emerging adult novels, young adult, and even children’s literature – and much more; and 3. Music, particularly how lyrics have inspired me as a writer and memories tied to certain song/artists, as well as concerts/live performances. I will also bring in art from time to time, along with whatever happens to be on my mind.
There are a few things you will not find here. I won’t be discussing education or the educational system. I could fill several different blogs on that topic. I have strong opinions, I see so much room for improvement, and I want to keep things here positive. As a result, I will skip discussing issues in education. I also plan to stay out of politics for the same reasons. I want this to be a place to fully explore things I love deeply, art that has truly carried me through just about anything and everything – good and bad. I need this. We all need to do more of what we love. I have so much to share!
This may be my first time participating in a Bookish Blog Hop, but I hope it will not be my last.
Today’s discussion question is:
How does reading inspire your everyday life?
What a great – and in my case, loaded – question! First, I can’t imagine my life without reading and writing. They are inseparable in my mind, and I would not be writing – not even here at Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde – if it were not for reading. As a child, I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables and all the Little House books, and of course, Nancy Drew – along with so many others. While I did largely stop reading for pleasure during my college years, as I began to explore my love of writing, I found my love of reading again. It informs my writing to the point where I can’t tell you where one begins and the other ends. Once I read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, there was not looking back. I still consider it one of the most influential books I have ever read. Every day reading offers me hope, inspiration, and an education. It is as simple and as complicated as that.
Views She Writes https://viewsshewrites.wordpress.com
Reading is the soul of my existence, the breath in my life. Reading inspires me to live, to dream and to observe the surroundings as our surroundings are the greatest story tellers. I started writing because of these teachings from the books that surround me. I hope to read till my last breath of life.
Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
Ha! I recently wrote a whole blog post on how certain books have played a part in my worldview philosophy!
In short, reading has inspired my everyday life because while on the surface the characters face impossible odds and fantastical situations–deep down, all these exaggerations are just hyperboles of real-world choices we all face. Through reading, I can find a character who struggles with a lot of the same things I do, and I can see a new perspective on it, a fresh way to deal with the issue that I hadn’t considered before. The good books connect me closer to my real-world life, instead of dragging me further away. It’s like that quote I shared yesterday, from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: “Good writers touch life often.” In order to make good literature, you have to be grounded in the real world, and bring some of that real world into the writing you do. Only then will it make an impact that will last for generations!
Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com
The best way I can sum up how reading inspires my life is this quote from Stephen King “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” I have read fiction almost every day of my life. A good book can take you to a place where your mind stops and you become another person. As George R.R. Martin said, you can live a thousand lives through books. When you are troubled or stressed or depressed a good book can lift you up.
Kim J www.writersideoflife.com
I love how we all read completely different things but, when it comes to how passionate we are about reading, it is exactly the same for all of us. I could have written any one of the above answers!
I simply can’t understand how people can not read. It is a stress release, it helps me get to sleep (as long as it’s not at the exciting part). Reading helps to understand ourselves; why we think the way we do, what others may think about us, what other scenarios may happen. Also, on a more practical note, reading about different times and places sparked my love of travel and pushed me to start writing myself.
Valerie, Cats Luv Coffee www.catsluvcoffeez.blogspot.com
I just read an article that reading fiction makes people more compassionate and increases their empathy. It states that we read, we emphasize with the characters. “Without necessarily even noticing, we imagine what it’s like to be them and compare their reactions to situations with how we responded in the past, or imagine we might in the future.” (Read the full article here) It’s an interesting take and one I think rings true. People who read often immerse themselves totally in the story. We do this over and over with each character that we experience. It’s part of what I love about fiction; that it takes me outside of myself and what might be happening in my life.
Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com
I’ve discovered a lot about myself through reading. Books are a part of my journey to self discovery. Whether I’m reading a romance or a thriller about a serial killer, I always discover something new about myself and how I view the world. Reading shows me my own morals, and helps me get a clearer idea of how I think and feel about certain topics.
I find that books give so much and all they ask in return is a little of our time. For me, I think I have become a better person because of reading. Reading makes me more empathetic towards others because I’ve read about so many different life situations. I am more creative and imaginative when I read fantasy. I tend to be more adventurous and take more risks when I read about adventure and bravery. Books are part of the tapestry that makes up who I am!
That is it for today’s Bookish Blog Hop, but be sure to check out yesterday’s offering at Lovely Audio Books. Eline hosts a discussion on favorite book quotes! You can find it here. Also, stay tuned tomorrow for the next stop at Views She Writes where the topic of the day will be the worst film adaptations of books!
I have so much planned this summer when it comes to my writing and life in general. Below is an overview of some things to watch for here at Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde.
Participation in Bookish Blog Hops: Summer Hop 2019
On June 17th, I will be hosting a discussion as part of Summer Hop 2019. I haven’t participated in a blog hop in years. I am hoping this will go well and reenergize things here. The question I am hosting is perfect. Trust me.
Book Review: Healing Your Self with Journaling Power by Mari L. McCarthy
Like my participation in blog tours, book reviews took a backseat over these last several years. Well, I am getting back to it. I will review Healing Your Self with Journaling Power by Mari L. McCarthy, creator of CreateWriteNow on July 2nd. My review will be followed up with an interview on July 9th. If nothing else, check out her inspiring blog.
I’ve long planned a series of information interviews with creative people I know personally. I am still working on the details, but I have several people in mind. Just know that I deeply admire the work of anyone I share here. They are a varied, interesting group of people with true talent.
Articles and Guest Posts
Keep an eye here for new guest posts and articles written by yours truly. Some are already in the process of publication. I will share as soon as I can. I am in the process of making a schedule in order to truly get going on some of these projects. So many projects!
Generally, this summer will hopefully be one of positive change. If all goes well, my professional life will finally come together, both as a business owner of Russell Canoe Livery and as a teacher. It is time to get to work!
Writing, oh how I’ve missed you!
Taking a long-term sub position (4th grade) and working to get the canoe livery ready for the summer compelled me to slow down and consider what I want to do with my writing moving forward. I did walk away from this experience with a couple of observations:
1. I need to fit writing into my life, no matter what is going on.
Before starting my long-term sub position, I did get into the routine of writing every day. I do know that if I did it once, I can do it again. It is now a matter of fitting it into my routine no matter what that looks like.
2. I need to plan better.
I underestimated how much time I needed to grade and plan. Day-to-day subbing positions require neither. If I am honest with myself, this entire experience made me realize just what I need to do when I at long last have my own classroom. I know I can make this work; it will just take some time and adjustment. Knowing that the long-term subbing position will be largely over June 1st, I decided to start again. Today.
I do hope that this summer will bring many wonderful things into my life. It is long, long overdue.
More on my spring adventures coming soon!
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I did find my voice. Now to keep it. I admit it: I struggle to fit everything in and cross all my T’s and dot all my I’s, especially this time of year. So many things are coming together, but I am just not quite there yet. I need to fit my writing into my temporary schedule. Maybe now would be a good time to figure out exactly what it is that I want.
So, what do I want out of my writing life? It is simple. I want room in my life to practice writing daily – both personally and here at Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde. I need room to grow as a writer. I now have the proper tools and the right support systems in place: it is just a matter of making time. I also want to keep contributing to other blogs, online publications, etc. Again, I am getting there.
Lately my writing made me reevaluate what I want in my personal life. What I’ve written here in earlier pieces is true. On one hand, I do want a family. On the other, it is not the end of the world if it doesn’t happen. I have too many things I want to do in life. What am I willing to give up? What can’t I live without? How am I supposed to make that choice?
I think that is it. Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve been forced to give up so many things, including several versions of what my life could be. How do I avoid becoming attached to one outcome? There are so many things in my life to explore. I hope I never lose my desire to try new things. That is part of my problem though. It is time I start making some commitments. In doing so, I hope I am never so inflexible that I am unwilling to start over when I need to do so. The day I quit trying is the day I die. I may still physically be here, but that could not be called living.
Who is to say that my life needs to be a certain way? I flat-out reject that idea. I need to do what is best for me. What that looks like now, I’m not sure. I do know I am not quite ready to trust again. At this point, I don’t know if I ever will be. Does it matter? I need to focus on my myself, and if the right man is out there, he will find me. It is time to let it go.
Nothing compares to spring in Omer. In the middle of all the mud, daily extreme temperature swings, the rain and snow, not to mention the annual Sucker run, my family and I start gearing up for the busy summer ahead. The canoe livery will always be a part of my life, and as my parents prepare to retire, I can say I am finally starting to make it my own. Our Facebook pages, website, and our new online reservation system all represent years of hard work on my part. Slowly my brother and I are taking on more and more responsibility.
This year, for many personal reasons, I am looking forward to this summer. For the first time in a long time, I have a clearer vision of what I need to do. Writing will take its place alongside all my canoe livery responsibilities. In the meantime, I am working as a long-term substitute teacher until the end of the school year. Last week I transitioned from subbing in a different classroom every day to taking on the responsibility of finishing out the school year in a 4th grade classroom. Just as I eased into a routine with my writing, I need to readjust. In June, I will have to do it again. Please stay with me as I try to figure out a good schedule here.
On a personal level, it has taken me years to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be happy unless education (teaching), business (the canoe livery), and writing were a part of my life. I need all three. When I received my teacher certification testing results for the business, management, and technology subject area, I felt anger. It clearly showed I should have never doubted myself when it comes to my business education. Of the three tests I took for my teaching certificate, I scored highest on the business exam. All areas of the test.
Yet, I did doubt myself when my business career hit a brick wall in 2005. So many things happened at a result that I took a good long look at what I truly wanted to do with my life. Thanks to that reevaluation of my career, I eventually earned my teaching certificate and my general writing certificate. Now, after all these years, I work every day making it all fit together. I simply ask that you stay with me. I will figure this out.
More than anything, I am proud of the family business my grandparents and parents built over the years. This summer represents 60 years in business. I grew up working not only with my parents, but my grandparents as well – especially Grandma Reid (Dad’s mom, pictured above). She, and my parents, taught me so much about business, customer service, and hard work growing up. Several years ago now, I asked Grandma what Grandpa Russell (Dad’s father, who started the canoe livery and passed away decades ago) would think of the canoe livery today. She didn’t quite know what to say. Now I wonder what she would think of the changes we’ve made.
It is no secret that I am my own worst enemy at times. OK, most of the time. Lately, I’ve been spending time thinking of ways to write more efficiently and better organize my work. I keep coming back to Scrivener. I took the time to learn it a few years ago, and I loved it. The issue became I didn’t keep using it. I’m not exactly sure why I quit, but I did. Well, I am getting back into the habit again. It offers a variety of ways to organize all of my work.
In a recent post, I stated that Scrivener is the closest thing writers have to a digital studio. I firmly believe this. It is so versatile it can accommodate any form of writing and any organizational method. You get to create templates and forms to use for the type of writing you do most. There are preset options that include fiction and non-fiction, as well as a handful of specialty options. It may take me some time, but I am going to relearn Scrivener and start using it on a daily basis again. I owe it to myself. It makes back-end organization that much easier.
Is it worth the initial investment of time and money? For me, the answer is unequivocally yes. I took the time to go through the extensive in-program tutorial: a definite must if you want to make the learning curve a little shorter. Besides, there is humor built in. If you choose not to go through the tutorial, you may miss out on a lot of great features. In fact, I believe that is how people become overwhelmed. Scrivener is truly built for writers by writers. That means that it allows you to slice, dice, organize, and label all materials to your hearts content. Just remember that as a writer, no one is forcing you to use all the features at once. Out of all the writing software I’ve come across over the years, Scrivener continues to stand out. I see no need for anything else.
Then again, there are a lot of fun online platforms out there. At least that is one thing we have going for us as writers: our tools. I love the fact that there are so many great writing tools out there for little or even no cost. In fact, there are so many that it takes time to figure out what works best for the way you work. Only now, after years of trial and error, am I beginning to find a process that works best for me. Hopefully, it will get me where I need to go. It is worth it to take the time to figure out how you work best as a writer. There may be several stops and starts, but each time, it becomes easier than the last. Eventually, your process starts to emerge. No matter what your process may be – or your genre – there is a place for Scrivener.