Insecure Writers Support Group: Help from the Grocery Story — Managing Editor’s Block.

“How are you doing today” asks the lady who stopped by the register to help bag my groceries.

“Okay,” I’ve long since passed the days where I feel the need to claim I’m going “great” or even “good” when I’m really not.

“Just okay? Well, hopefully the weekend will get better.” She puts the couple bags in my cart and asks if I need help out with them.  I decline and she continues on.

Meanwhile, the guy still ringing up the rest of my groceries looks at me, “Have anything fun planned for the rest of the weekend?”

“Mostly writing.”

“I wish I could write….”

The conversation continued for just a little longer, but it was a bright spot in what’s been a kind of a challenging week for me. I learned that he’s a reader, but never been much of a writer — which is why he’s going for a degree in the sciences.

I thanked him for being a reader (because we writers need readers!) and encouraged him to keep writing if he enjoys it, it takes practice but I think if someone enjoys it and wants to do it then they’ve got the ability in them to write.

Then I said how I was deep into edits on a novel right now, and that’s when he asked a question that made the conversation stand out to me.

“Is there such a thing as Editors block?”

“Yes,” I responded without a seconds hesitation.  “I mean, I haven’t actually heard anyone refer to it but, yes…”

I forget what he actually responded to that, but he smiled a genuine smile and said something that helped to reinforce the reality of such a thing, something like “You’re feeling it, so it must be so?”

Sometimes being able to put a name to the thing that is causing us problems can be so helpful. I know I have to keep pushing, work through these revisions and edits to get the manuscript to the point I want and need it to be. It’s hard though. I know I have to be gentle with myself through the process, but I also need to remember that editing block is a real thing.  Just like writer’s block, there are things I can do to help make my way through it.  I’m not quite sure what those things are, but probably similar to what helps me get through writer’s block: reading, seeking out story-relevant inspiration, and allowing myself to put the manuscript on the shelf for just a little longer to work on other projects for a bit.

Have you ever run into Editor’s block? What do you do to cope with it?

This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a IWSG badgegreat group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.
There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG. 

We also put out a book, available for free, with great articles on topics from writing to publishing, everything in-between and beyond

Trees! Trees! Trees!

Nerd In The Brain‘s Go Play! Go Learn! Challenge this week is “Go Climb a Tree.”  I totally wish I could actually climb a tree – that was something I loved to do as a kid, but I didn’t let myself actually climb a tree this time. My favorite climbing tree is no longer so climbable, and I’m not quite as limber as I used to be.

Then I was going to do an inventory of trees in my yard.. but there are so many of them, so very many of them…

Instead, I thought I’d look at a few specific trees.

Looking up to the front yard trees.

My yard is home to a number of Douglas Firs.  These amazing trees tower high in my neighborhood, and I love them.  There are a few clusters, some in front of the house, some in back.  They’ve been there forever, and have grown over the years (but they’ve always been HUGE).  The ones in the backyard grew enough to start pushing against our porch and we had to chop a few feet of the porch off, because they grow out while the grow up.

See how much taller those trees are than our two-story house?

Sometimes we get wind storms, and the trees move in them.  Towering beasts that they are, they still can be moved by the wind.  And sometimes their branches and pine-cones get tossed into the road and pathways.

Remnants after a recent storm.

In the back yard, though, is the coolest Doug Fir… because this is the tree that I’ve gotten so see grow.  Yes, the big trees have grown — but the one in the back (probably from the seeds of one of the larger and older ones) was just an itty-bitty tree when I was a kid.

Still not a huge tree, but it’s growing!


Though they aren’t so good for climbing, I love these trees!  I love their pine-cones, and the scent of their needles.  I have fun watching them sway in the wind and the way their long branches dance on the breeze.

What kind of trees are in your yard?

If We Were Having Coffee… Brief Visit

weekendcoffeeshare (1)Today’s post is a part of the Weekend Coffee Share, graciously hosted by Part Time Monster every weekend. A time for us to come together, share a cup of coffee (or our beverage of choice) to share some of what is going on in our lives.  It’s a lovely check-in!

If we were having coffee I’d be excited to tell you that I got to meet Corina of Wasted Day and Wasted Nights! We got together last night for dinner and then a venture into the Portland Underground (more about that to come at another time!)

Otherwise it’s been a pretty normal week – work’s been a bit slower which has allowed me some time for a few projects, but I haven’t managed to get as much editing done as I need. That’s going to change soon though — I am determined.

This week enters my countdown to vacation!  I have exciting plans starting next Friday and am really looking forward to the chance to get away from my normal routine for a while.

If we were having coffee I wouldn’t be able to chat for long — I’m having a group of friends over tonight for a play reading and need to do some cleaning and food prep for it.  But I’ve got some time to hear about your week – how have things been for you?

Celebrate Awards!

Celebrate the Small Things

Today is Celebrate the Small Things Friday.  Hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner of Writing Off the Edge, and Tonja Drecker of Kidbits, Celebrate the Small Things is a time when we all take a moment to celebrate something good from our week.  It can be small, it can be big, just something to look back on the week and celebrate!

I’m celebrating getting the award of Nerd of the Week from Nerd in the Brain for the Go Play, Go Learn ChallengeHead In The Clouds.”  wpid-wp-1440510685898.png

Yay! I particularly love that I got this by taking lots of cloud pictures, and writing about clouds, and just generally geeking out about clouds.  The next challenge has to do with trees, so I’m excited about that too!



And I’m celebrating that, a while ago, I received the Blogger Recognition Award from Time For My Thoughts!


As with many awards this one has “rules” which I will follow in my own way :)

Blogger Recognition Award Rules:

  1. Select 15 other blogs to which you want to give the award. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you.
  2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to attach the award! (You can do this by right clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
  3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

I nominated anyone and everyone who would like to receive this award… there are some awesome bloggers out there and I admire the work you do!

I started this blog because I wanted a project. I hadn’t been writing much, and I had friends with all sorts of different kinds of blogs… it seemed the thing to do.  For years it lingered on with very little activity or action.  I did a few posts on some of my travels,  some of my baking, some of my sewing, and some about life happenings…. but for most of the first few years of its life this blog had a lot of place-holder updates.

Then I moved across country.  I  finished the Graduate program that had been taking so much of my time, and I found myself needing to get back into some regular writing habits. I wasn’t sure what form it would all take — but my blog was still here so I started back in.  It’s possible things would have waned, that I would have drifted from the blogging… but I found a great community here and now am fairly well entrenched!

My advice to new bloggers: find your people.  It’s true for everything, but finding a community that can help support you (both in the public eye and behind the scenes) is so vital.  I love the friends I’ve made through this blog.

And, another piece of advice: remember that what you are saying on your blog is there for the public to see.  Pay attention to your words, try to put your best foot forward, but also be real – be yourself, after all, it’s your blog!

Do We Ever Fully Know Our Worlds?

Recently I’ve seen articles floating around about J.K. Rowling saying that she supports a theory in Harry Potter that has Dumbledore representing Death. One, in particular caught my eye because of a quote at the end:

“The world [J.K. Rowling] created is as surprising to her at times as it is for all of us.” – Kevin O’Keeffe

Does any author ever really know the worlds they are writing completely? I feel like there are always hidden corners and endless possibilities in worlds – they are as vast as our imaginations will allow and there are always hidden corners and unexplored spaces. It’s impossible to know everything about the world we live in, why would fictional worlds be any different?

I’m also struck, constantly, by the reality that readers will always have their own interpretations. No matter how well an author knows their work, how thoroughly they think through metaphor, symbolism and meaning, readers are going to find their own meanings in the writing.  That is part of the power of a good story, it allows the reader to run with it – to imagine themselves not only in the world but also to want to dig deeper — keeping the story alive long after the last page has turned and to revisit those pages again and again for even more depth, more meaning.

These are things I love about writing.  What I put on the page, what I intend readers to understand, my not be what they end up understanding.  Sometimes they can find so much more in what I’ve written — I have loved instances when beta-readers had asked questions or made comments about their expectations of the story which aren’t what I originally intended, but fit so perfectly. Another set of eyes looking at the worlds I’m writing about with fresh perspective, able to see things that I may have overlooked.

The worlds of fiction are amazing living things that grow, shift, change and are always full of surprises.  It’s part of their power.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Would be on the Syllabus for Children’s Literature on the Holocaust 101

Every week The Broke and the Bookish  hosts the “Top Ten Tuesdays” a great blog-hop for readers to reflect on their “Top Ten”

toptentuesdayTop Ten Books that would be on your syllabus for ______ 101.

I’m raiding my undergraduate thesis for this one…  I struggled so very much to figure out what I would pick because there is a part of me that is an educator and I most certainly overthought it… And then I decided to go with one of the lists I’d already come up with!

It’s been a while since my undergraduate years, so it’s also a little of a flashback to 2003 since there may be some changes if I were to redo this list now…

  1. Night, by Elie Wiesel.
  2. The Cage, by Ruth Minsky Sender.
  3. Frederich, by Hans Peter Richter.
  4. I Was There, by Hans Peter Richter.
  5. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss.
  6. Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry.
  7. Journey to America, by Sonia Levitin.
  8. Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France, by Renee Roth-Hano.
  9. Hide and Seek. By Ida Vos.
  10. The Devil’s Arithmetic. by Jane Yolen.

What would be on your list?

Classics Club SPIN TIME!

It’s time for another Classics Club Spin!

The way it works: I list 20 books from my Classics Club Reading List, then on the 24th of this month (tomorrow…) a number will be chosen.  That is the book that I will end up trying to read before October 23rd.
I’ve got a few other fun Classics-Club-Related things in the works but, for now, my list!

And the spin number is: 5!  Looks like I’ll be reading some Oz!

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy
  4. Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko
  5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum
  6. O Pioneers! – Willa Cather
  7. The Three Musketeers – Alexander Dumas
  8. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingslover
  9. Ariel – Sylvia Plath
  10. Heidi – Johanna Spyri
  11. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
  12. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  13. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkein
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  15. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving
  16. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  17. The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
  18. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  19. The Phantom of the Opera – Gaston Lerouch
  20. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.


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