Happy 50, Jamie!

IMG_0001Today I turn 50, and while I’m certainly taller now, some things don’t change. I still love kids, dogs, and blankies. I still actually have this afghan that my grandma crocheted about 90 years ago in that awesome 60s color combo.

I recognize that it’s quasi-culturally unacceptable to celebrate your own birth publically in a blog, but it wouldn’t be the first time I turned my head on the norm. That happens more and more the closer I get to 100.

I love birthdays–other people’s and my own–because they mark the day we decided to show up to this amazing adventure. I feel like it’s only right to celebrate each physical moment we have here on earth, be utterly grateful for the day it started…to grow, to stretch, to soak up each sunrise and sunset, to serve others and by so doing, serve ourselves most fully. So between the happy birthday phone calls, I will shamelessly hum the birthday song to myself all day long, not in an egoic kind of way, but in a grateful to have dropped by kind of way.

On the writing front, I had a great conversation with my friend Lois last week. We met at my first SCBWI meeting in a classroom inside Pacific Palisades’ Lutheran church where Lin Oliver did a workshop on humor. I liked her right away, better than anybody in the room, and we’ve been friends ever since– through moves, kids, through writing triumphs and challenges. Lois has many talents, but one I’ve always admired is her allegiance to daily writing schedule during first draft stage on novels. I can drag it out, distracted by life and a myriad of legitimate excuses. My first novel took me a year for a first draft, and 3 for one million (exactly–I counted) revisions.

But with the way the stars are lined up right now, and the shift I feel in my own patterning, we set a goal: I will do something on my current novel every day, even if that’s simply to open the document. It’s just time to establish a good first draft habit. (I will be on blog break next week while my hubby and I celebrate, but I will take my laptop and I will AT LEAST OPEN my document every day!)

The first night I started my new habit I went up to my desk (since it was not my carpool turn) and opened the document. I heard the kids get in the car and take off, knowing I had a solid 2.5 hours before they’d be back and hungry for 10pm after-practice tacos. In what seemed like 5 minutes, I heard something outside the office window. They were back. I seriously thought they’d forgotten something. I looked down at the time. It was 9:40! I’d lost all track of time. I remembered–that’s why I love writing. I lose myself there, like in the garden when I’m playing in the dirt and time stands still.

So far, 100% success for the week! Thank you, Lois, for always being there for me, letting me be there for you, and sharing this writer’s journey which is full of so many twists and turns. It’s friends like you that make it so much more fun to live on this planet and travel this journey.

With this goal, even today–between my Cyntergy class, massage appointment, humming the birthday song, and family dinner–I WILL open Intuition. The end.

Wednesday Writes #1

6236_337288503037165_1518858661_nA quick study of the dates since my last dip into the vortex of word fun tells the tale.

Theme #1: This girl needs some writing Metamucil. Or some word juicing. Something to get her moving the keys more regularly.

Theme #2: She likes to write about conferences. Not so much about writing. Or anything else. Just conferences.

There is some truth to both these themes, but as with all things, there’s more when you dig deeper. So I’ve dug, and have uncovered this truth: no time like the almost-end-of-the-world (I know–so 2012) to turn over a more regular leaf. And this is a good thing. Perhaps it will eliminate cliches about foliage from my writing.

What really spurred me on was my commitment to my health coaching clients and to my personal health. I set a goal to write daily through the 2012  holidays and completed that recently. Heck, doing anything every day during the holidays besides wrapping presents is a challenge. Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas (we like to be safe) makes December a full-time job at my house so just getting through on a regular year is iffy. This year I had an additional four trips to weave through that tapestry.

Still, by keeping this commitment, I realized the value of daily writing outside my normal  writing. I fell back in love with that which had become trudgery. (Don’t go looking it up. the Merriams haven’t learned the word yet, but once they stop being trudgerous, they will.)

I reignited with that part of me that got so excited when I saw my first poem, “Red,” published in the Redding Record Searchlight back in 1971 or so. (Oh, to find that piece of work sent in by my first grade teacher, Mrs. Pope.) I’ve always felt I was put on this planet to write, and when I do it regularly, I’m reminded of that.

Balance is key, though, and I’m working on many projects. I need to organize my time. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Look for thoughts on writing each Wednesday. If you’re into healthy living, you can find me Mondays here  (www.getstrongblog.com). They go together in my mind since I gained 85 pounds drafting my first novel (too many peanut butter M&Ms–you’ve been warned) and I had to learn how to draft novels without that crutch, a secret of the universe I like to call decaf tea.

I hope you’ll join me through the process, the trudgerous and glorious roller coaster we call writing.