My triumphant return…

I was excited to see that I hadn’t missed this month’s Everybody, Everywear. Normally I forget.

Just popping in with a little green. Hello, everyone.ūüôā

Green | Everybody, Everywear

Winner winner chicken dinner.

So, it’s been pretty quiet around here lately. That’s not unusual for this blog, but this time, I actually have good reason.

I just wrote 50,160 words of my first novel.

Guys, I “won” NaNoWriMo! I’m so excited. The final stretch was completed in a library, and I nearly had to cover my mouth to keep from screaming in celebration. I know that the purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to “win,” it’s to get you writing consistently. But once that 50,000-word target was stuck in my head, I couldn’t unstick it. This is the first time I’ve ever written this much of a project, and I am beyond stoked and ready to begin the editing/rewriting process.

Thanks for your encouragement while I worked on this project. Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you accomplish your writing goal?

My Friday morning.

I’m off today for Veterans Day, and my Friday morning looks like this:

Good coffee in my cute new mug, my NaNoWriMo¬†project in front of me. I’m nearly 15,000 words in, a little behind schedule, but I think I’ll get caught up today. This afternoon, I’m driving to see my best friend for a much-needed girls’ weekend. It’s a good day.

Do you get a long weekend, too? What are your plans?

(Full disclosure: my plans also include sending Leonardo DiCaprio happy birthday messages telepathically, which I’m pretty sure I’ve done every November 11th for the past thirteen years.)

Happy Veterans Day, and happy Friday!

NaNoWriMo

“I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know, at one time I think I secretly wanted to be a writer.” – the always enjoyable Cary Grant as C.K. Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story

Here, friends, is the truth: I secretly (or not so secretly) want to be a writer. 

This itch of mine has been spreading since my first creative writing workshop, which I took my freshman year of college. At that point, I was still a general studies major, which really just meant I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. But I’d always loved writing, and throwing my work into the teeth of this group of people for them to rip it apart somehow just felt right to me. I decided to be an English major with a concentration in creative writing, and I took more workshops each year. A workshop is a scary place, but it’s also where all the good stuff happens for your writing, and I grew both technically and creatively in my program. The best experience was probably when I did my final project, which was to submit¬†x¬†number of pages of a cohesive writing portfolio. I had a phenomonal mentor, who understood what I was trying to do and¬†challenged me to stretch myself.¬†I worked on a collection of flash fiction, deeming myself not able to sustain a normal short story, and certainly not the beginnings of a novel.

My tendency to shy away from big writing projects makes this next bit seem strange: I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel by the end of November.

Normally, inspiration comes to me in little flashes, a phrase or an image here and there. Plot is definitely not my strong point, and I never had an idea for anything as substantial as a novel until a few weeks ago. But now, I have multiple characters! I have conflict! I have ideas for how my characters will grow and change!

I jumped in yesterday. 30 days, 50,000 words, and (hopefully) a novel at the end of it. Wish me luck. I’m already 3054 pages in!

Content.

A simple pleasure - a new knitting project.

¬† ¬† ¬†I find myself complaining all the time, throwing out an “I’m so tired” or an¬†“I wish it were Friday” or an “ugh, it’s so cold today.” You know, the little socially acceptable complaints that we use to make conversation, to bind us together in our mutual disappointment. But I wonder how harmful they are to me as I try to live a more contented life.
¬† ¬† ¬†What if, instead of grumbling about the weather, I remarked on the beauty of the leaves changing color? What if I viewed it as an opportunity to wear kneesocks and drink hot chocolate? What if, instead of complaining about being tired, I thanked God for another morning? It’s hard not to look forward to the weekend, especially when that’s the only time I get to see my husband, but there is joy to be found in every single day, not just in the days that carry me away from work and back to him.
¬† ¬† ¬†Each day is full of blessings. Today, for example, I have a cup of hot coffee on my desk. I’m having a good hair day. I woke up refreshed and excited. I’m wearing warm goldenrod tights under my trousers, and I love the flash of cheery color at my feet. I packed a simple, delicious lunch this morning. This evening, I get to see my parents and curl up with Daniel and relax. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s a good day, and I’m blessed to be living it.
¬† ¬† ¬†Maybe if I start commenting on the good things, it’ll have a positive effect on my outlook, and maybe it will even challenge those around me to focus on what’s good in their lives. Maybe being joyful is a simple way for me to proclaim God’s love and goodness, and maybe I can connect with others over shared words of praise, instead of shared complaints.¬†A smile and a hopeful word won’t take any more energy than a sigh and a grumble.
¬† ¬† ¬†Have a great weekend, everyone.ūüôā

Blank slate.

It’s Sunday evening, and I just made the journey home from my parents’ house. I spent the weekend with family and friends and Daniel, and it doesn’t get much better than that. Normally, I might feel sad about leaving those things behind for the week, but I just had a wash of excitement come over me because I just finished a book that I’d been reading for a while, which frees me up to begin another. I also just finished sewing and crochet projects that had been on my to-do list for a long time (baby gifts for a shower I attended today), and so I’m free to start another project or two. And it’s Sunday night, which means the start of another week tomorrow, and thankfully I’m not clouded by the Sunday night blues, which used to settle in every week.

My mantra these past few weeks has been “Today is a new day.” I’ve seriously written it in my planner each and every day, along with a smiley face. I need that daily reminder.

Tonight, I’m just thankful for the blank slate in front of me.

Want.

¬† ¬† ¬†I’m so tired of wanting.
¬† ¬† ¬†I want, I desire, I covet, always looking toward the next thing, the thing that can fix what’s wrong with me, the thing that can fill the holes and satisfy me. It’s painful to admit how materialistic I am, how fixated on appearances, how vain. I like to think I’m above such silliness, that I can’t be swayed by the commercialism of our society, but oh, I can, and I am.
¬† ¬† ¬†Magazines hold the promise of a better, more beautiful me, and so I keep buying them, wasting money on an item that’s just going to make me want to waste more money by buying more things. Internet ads capture my attention. A few days ago, while online, I was distracted by¬†an Anthropologie ad on the sidebar.¬†I gasped (yes, literally – how embarrassing) at the prettiness before me, and clicked through to their website, where I browsed the latest catalog and lamented that I’m not spending my days in a charming European village, draped in expensive cardigans, with beautifully mussed hair and milky, perfect skin.
¬† ¬† ¬†Now, I can look at that moment of longing and see its silliness, of course. Who has a life like that? But it doesn’t stop that weird, rumbly feeling that tells me that I need more, that somehow my life would be better if I had the perfect red lipstick and leather handbag. I don’t think I’m alone.¬†I have a friend who laughingly says that she’s not living the life she was¬†meant to live; she works a job similar to mine, with good pay and benefits. She jokes that she was born to be rich and spend her days in the lap of luxury. I laugh along with her, but I’ve recently realized that deep down, a part of me feels this way, too.
¬† ¬† ¬†I don’t think it’s wrong to have an appreciation for beautiful things. God has blessed us with so much beauty, and during this time of transition in my life, I have found joy and comfort in being surrounded by familiar, pretty objects. The things that decorate my room provide a sense of home for me, which is such a blessing. I also love to make beautiful things, and to style myself in a way that I feel is appealing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of that.
¬† ¬† ¬†The problem comes when this appreciation gives way to a consuming desire to have more, because no matter how much you accumulate, it will never be enough. It’s especially dangerous for those of us who are trying to be good stewards, and I’ve always struggled with financial irresponsibility.
¬† ¬† ¬†My goal is to drown out that loud voice that tells me my blessings aren’t enough, that I’m not enough, that my life is not good enough. How about you? Do you struggle with such things?