Writing Time

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I am not a best-selling author.  I am a mother of two.  I am a wife.  I am an English teacher. And, I am also a writer.  I love writing.  I love blogging and lately I have had to literally scrape together minutes of writing.  I have had to carve and beg and steal time to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard).

I can’t be ruthless about protecting writing days – because in my world a day devoted to writing is a fantasy.  But I can be ruthless about protecting those precious twenty minutes I told myself I would use to write.

Writing is my happy place.  It nourishes my soul and revives me.  It gives me a little bit of space where I can be me.  I do something that is just for me without the tug of all the people in my life who incessantly need a piece of me.

It is my selfish, unapologetic, self-indulgent time.  And I wouldn’t be able to survive without it.

I keep this quote by Rowling within reach everyday because it helps to remind me how important writing is to me and it is something I will not compromise on.

I’d love to hear how you remind yourself to do the things you love – regardless of the struggle it may create.

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Wednesday Quotables: Writing

Wed quotables 3

This week’s quotables are about my passion – writing. I love to write. I write personal essays and short stories and I have written two manuscripts.  I may choose to self publish one day, since the traditional way isn’t exactly working out for me, but that’s alright because regardless, I will never stop writing.

europeanpaper.com

My inner life is normally bursting. I must unleash it onto a page – any page (or screen) at any given moment.

pedalsandpencils.com

Need inspiration? Pay attention to your life and it will offer all the inspiration you need.

fhdphotos.com

“Make the best of your talent” I love that line! If we are privileged with talent or an ability in any area, we owe it to ourselves to fully explore and develop it.

rebeccasbook.blogspot.com

Enough said.

thelifestring.blogspot.ca

This is a tough one for me, but oh so true. When you let go…the words that flow from your fingertips are unbelievable…you never know what’s inside you to write until you just write.

prowritingaid.com

Um, see above quote.

samanthaholloway.com

A bit excessive, but I understand the sentiment. Writing can be tortuous but when done with abandon it leaves you exhilarated and empty. You must refill and spill it out all over again.

leahkonen.com

What are you passionate about? What do you love to do that is woven into your soul?

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Spring Cleaning

It’s April 8th and I woke up to wet snow.  My backyard, which was a swampy mess yesterday, was once again adorned this morning by a layer of icy white. Not the pretty fluffy powder that warms my heart in December. The heavy, wet, chunky clumps that tighten my chest because it’s April 8th. Yesterday, I had the windows open and cool air refreshed my home as I thought of spring and not far behind…spring cleaning. Bright sunny days make me want to make my house shine. The grey days of winter mask the dust that rests on the baseboards and cloak the piles in bottomless closets. The instant the clouds give way to the sun and rays of light pour in through the windows there are spotlights on every single crevice that needs tidying, purging and a good scrub.

from beautifulhomesandgardens.ca

I have to blink several times to adjust to the light and then I simply must move.

Spring cleaning goes beyond the building in which my family and I live. I also pay attention to the body I inhabit. There is an energy inside me that has been building up all winter (in addition to the few extra pounds from all the chocolate I’ve consumed) and I must unleash it.

So it is generally in the spring that I take up one of my favourite forms of exercise. I run. I am not a runner – I do not measure my run by distance. I do not even run continuously during the 20-30 minutes I am outside. I will jog, walk, sprint and run. My heart pounds in my chest, my lungs hurt, my legs scream and I love it. I do not stop. It is normally when I am running that I do my best thinking. I purge every negative emotion that crept into my soul during the long, dark winter. I remember that life is wonderful. I give thanks for the beauty of my life and for my ability to move. I feel the sweat cleansing my body of the dust I have accumulated over a long winter.

In my mind, this is me:

from motionshoelab.com

This is probably more what I look like:

from mynextrace.com

Once I’m back inside I proceed with another favourite, yoga. I love yoga. It’s a lovely way to settle my aching muscles down after a good run. I close my eyes, breathe deeply and smile as I abandon myself into each pose (until my son decides he absolutely needs me urgently, like right now mommy because if he doesn’t get that toy on the top shelf he might pass out from boredom because he has no other toys in the house). Now, back to breathing….

Where envision myself doing yoga because my mat is normally sandwiched between the couch and coffee table and I’m surrounded by toys:

from womenshealth.com

The last part of my spring cleaning routine is to reacquaint myself with my journal. I’m sporadic in pretty much everything I do. I dive into every project with passion and find myself consumed by it, until I get bored or lose the energy to persevere or find another endeavour that enraptures me. And, so is my relationship with my journal. I look back at the journals I’ve accumulated over the years and all of them have huge chunks of time missing. It’s like I disappear for months (a few times for years!) at a time and then I dive back into journalling trying to make up for lost time. In any case, while I’ve been more consistent with journalling of late, it’s still something that calls to me more in the spring.

I’ve enjoyed enough springs to know that my home will always have corners that need a mop, my body will always carry an extra 5-10 pounds and my journal will always have gaps in time. I am also fully aware that the strange energy I feel is simply nature’s way of waking me up after a long (long) sleepy winter and that this energy will surely lead into the lovely, hazy, lazy lull of summer’s heat. Nonetheless, I will enjoy every second of polishing my home, pushing my body to its limits and my pen across the page. It’s how I shake off winter and welcome spring into my life.

What are your spring cleaning rituals?

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Wednesday Quotables: On Support

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In light of all of the support, kinship and good spirit that Book Marks has received in the past few days. today’s Quotables will be about Support – those who support us, why we need support and how it affects us.  Enjoy!

from quotes-lover.com

from quotes-lover.com

I find in the blogging community a deep respect for all writers, great encouragement and support for all that a blog has accomplished and where a blog goes.

from searchquotes.com

from searchquotes.com

Just when I feel my most empty, without words, wiped out – the universe reminds me that I love doing this.  Last week, it was a short message from Dawn at Life, Love, Adventure “Karen, we miss you!!”

from bedroomdesigncatalogue.com

from bedroomdesigncatalogue.com

Ok, so who doesn’t love a Winnie the Pooh quote? And, isn’t this how you feel when you discover a great new blog or connect with a blogger who’s blog you love?

from quoteshunter.com

from quoteshunter.com

Every fantastic blog and writer out there challenges me to improve, change and better my blog.  I feel like it is always a work in progress.  Each step helps me discover who I am as a blogger and what I’d like to see at Book Marks.  I wish I had more time to do this!

from happyologist.co.uk

from happyologist.co.uk

We all love to see the stats go up, it’s fun to check the daily numbers and views and clicks…but ultimately, it’s the great comments and support from the people who read and care about our blogs and what we have to write about that really matters.

So what did you think of today’s quotes?  Any ring true, hit home, make you think?  Share your thoughts!

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Blog of the Year Award 2013!

November was busy!  New home.  Home renos to said home.  Preparing for new baby.  Coping with complications with pregnancy and third trimester stuff. Oh, and NaBloPoMo…which seemed to have ended for me about a week early.

Then amidst the daily chaos of life I found this lovely comment from Melanie Jean Juneau at Mother of Nine9:

you have been awarded the BLOG of the YEAR by melanie at http://themotherofnine9.wordpress.com/2013/11/23/even-though-i-said-no-awards/

I was flabbergasted.  And giddy.  And, oh so grateful!

The rules for Blog of the Year 2013 Award are:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award.
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen- there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required- and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.
  3. Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them- (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)
  4. Stop by and say hello to the originator of the Blog Of The Year 2013 Award via this link: http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2-/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/
  5. Recipients can now join the Blog Of The Year Award Facebook Page. Click the link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear and share your blog posts with  an even wider audience.
  6. And as a winner of the award- please add a link back to the blog that presented you with this award-and then proudly display the award on your blog- and start collecting stars!

I will begin with #6 – Thank you so much Melanie from Mother of Nine9!  I love reading your blog.  You have a lovely perspective on parenting and children that aligns with my own.  Also, you have become a strong supporter of Book Marks, so thank you!

Here’s #1 & #2:  I love reading these blogs and I am grateful to these bloggers for always being so supportive of me and my blog!

Jessica Vealtzik at TRUE Stories – Jessica writes such an honest blog and tackles all sorts of subjects from the very personal, to parenting and best of all she allows many to tell their true stories on her blog.  Jessica offers a variety of perspectives on the experiences of women and family through story telling.  She has also recently published her first novel.  Looking forward to reading it!

Heather Lindskold at Between the Covers – Heather is my book blogging guru. I am normally in awe of the way she devours books and offers such succinct, clear and fair reviews.  She LOVES books and reading. It is a great blog for book lovers.

Bulging Buttons – this is a fun, diverse blog.  I came across this blog during NaBloPoMo and am very happy to have connected with this blogger.

Dawn Kealing at Life, Love and Adventure – I also met Dawn through NaBloPoMo.  She has a great travel blog and reminds me of my younger self.  I have fun reading through her adventures and travels.

Rebecca Scaglione at Love at First Book – Rebecca is another dedicated book blogger.  She too reads through so many books and offers great reviews.  Her blog is all things bookish and she inspired my Friday 5 Favourites.

Franco at Peach, Plum, Orange – Franco writes honestly on all sorts of subjects – and responds to comments quite thoughtfully which is great for discussions.

I foresee lots of time away from the blog once baby arrives, but in the meantime I will try to continue blogging and keeping up with my favourite blogs.

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What NaBloPoMo Has Sparked

Blogging every day for a month.  It’s been challenging – but not daunting.  It has inspired me to move forward with a few ideas for my blog.

I don’t know how soon I’ll put these into place -especially since they’ll fall apart in a month with a new baby…BUT they may help me get back on blogging track once I’m out of the new baby stupor and desirous to get back to writing.

Mondays I think I’ll dedicate to all things parenting – whether anecdotes, interesting tweets or posts from parenting cites I follow or something I’ve learned and can pass along.

Mommy Mondays WM

On Wednesdays I’ll probably need inspiration to get through the rest of the week.  I hope to inspire my readers too with interesting quotes and images that just might do the trick.  These may be quotes from books, their authors or other people we can all learn from.

Quotable Wednesdays WM

Thursdays will be dedicated to all things bookish.  In honour of why I started this blog in the first place.

Bookish Thursdays WM

On Fridays I hope to post about things that I love.  My lists can include classic books, modern books, vacation spots, parenting advice, beauty products…anything that catches my whimsy that week.

My Friday Five Favourite Things WM

That leaves Tuesdays.  I might participate in a meme or I might consider adding “Teachable Tuesdays” to the list.  I could provide teaching ideas for things that have worked in the classroom, or discuss teachable moments – personally and professionally.  I’m not sure yet.

What do you think? Has NaBloPoMo caused you to think differently about your blog?

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What I Have Learned From Daily Blogging

Week 1 of NaBloPoMo done…today’s prompt is to reflect upon what we’ve learned from blogging everyday.  So, what have I learned?

  1. It’s not as hard as it sounds: once forced to blog every day because it is a challenge, because you’ve made a commitment, the words seem to flow out of your fingertips and onto the keyboard with less trepidation.  The more I write, the easier it becomes.
  2. There is writing material everywhere: while NaBloPoMo provides writing prompts for those days when I’m stumped (such as today), being challenged to write every day also forces me to pay more attention to the way life unfolds around me. Inspiration is found in small moments, in interesting articles or blog posts, or an idea that’s been nagging at me can finally come to fruition.  Basically, there’s never a shortage of material.
  3. Meeting other bloggers:  part of NaBloPoMo includes supporting other bloggers in their daily writing journey.  This challenge is about more than just writing, it’s also about being exposed to other blogs and feeling a part of the blogging community – which is enormous!
  4. Finding time to read is easier than I thought: daily blogging has also forced me to make more time for reading in order to keep up on the bookish topics on my blog.  I’ll be doing my first author interview soon and reviewing a book or two from my fall tbr list.
  5. Appreciation and Gratitude:  while I am always grateful for every single person who chooses to follow my blog, who comments and hits that “like” button – it is especially gratifying when other bloggers visit and choose to comment on Book Marks.  Out of the plethora of choices in the NaBloPoMo blogroll…they’ve chosen my little blog!  It’s awesome!

I’m sure the learning will continue throughout the month.  All in all, it has been a very positive experience.  Have you accepted any challenges recently from which you have learned about yourself?

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Inspiring A Fellow Blogger

Melanie Jean Juneau from Mother of nine9 honoured me in quite a lovely fashion last week!  I have recently discovered her blog and am loving it.  It is a beautifully written blog about mothering, parenting, children and a few other things too.  One of Melanie’s featured posts includes inspiring quotes matched with beautiful art.

And, on Halloween, she used one of my comments as inspiration for her quote/art post!

I was surprised and deeply honoured.  One of my personal goals through my writing (whether on this blog or through other forums) is to inspire others, to provoke thought, to provide insight.  Melanie Jean validated these goals with her post last week.

If you get a chance, take a moment to read the post and check out her blog.

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NaBloPoMo – Personal Writing Challenge

I have added Book Marks to the BlogHer blogroll for NaBloPoMo where I will post daily for the month of November.  Perhaps next year I will attempt NaNoWriMo and this might be a way of training.

I am nervous, but looking forward to the prompts provided by both BlogHer and WordPress; and, nurturing those daily moments of inspiration into blog posts.

Wish me luck!  I hope to offer my readers some entertainment, perhaps information and a few moment of enlightened reading.

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Top Ten Tuesday: OCD Bookish Habits!

(a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish)

This week we have been given free reign in our choice of topic.  I haven’t done a Top Ten list in a while (nor blogged in a while – sorry!), and as I perused the list of topics, I knew this one had to be this week’s Top Ten for me.

1.  I must finish every book I read.  (disclaimer: I still feel guilty about not finishing Fruit, but pretty damned satisfied that I didn’t waste any more time on Fifty Shades of Grey)

2.  I must have a bookmark.  It is imperative that the pages of my books not be folded or tampered with in any way.

3.  I must have a pen.  Weird, huh?  I can’t fold the pages of my books, but I can underline and note-take to my heart’s content.  It is a habit I formed when I became an English teacher – and, now, I can’t break it.

4.  I need a cup of tea.   Because reading makes me thirsty and I want to feel cozy and indulge.

5.  I need a blanket.  Again with the cozy.

6.  I must be curled up.  Is there any other way to read than with feet tucked in?

7.  When finished reading I close the book and inspect its cover – perhaps even brushing my hand over it to make sure its clean.

8.  Re-read parts I love. Over and over.  Which might help to explain why I take so long reading books.

9.  Select books based on their cover or title.  Although, since I started blogging I’ll select books recommended on favourite blogs.

10.  Walking through the book store just to be around books.

Do you have OCD habits around books or other hobbies?

Share yours with me in the comments below or at The Broke and the Bookish through the above link.