Category Archives: masters degree

You Are Enough


I like to use my own photography in blog posts, but this was the perfect picture for the sentiment.

I am a perfectionist. I am my biggest critic. I am a taskmaster, who has a tendency to work until I can’t tell whether I’m coming or going…that is, until this summer.

After school ended, I slept. I stayed up late because my inner essence is happiest as a night owl, but I slept at least nine hours a night and took naps those first weeks after the end of school. I took a class in June so I had to get up by 10:30 am and get going, however, my bedtime continued to hover in the wee hours of the night and I continued to want (need) to relax and be still and quiet.

Once the class was over and I continued to sloth my days away, I started to beat myself up for not accomplishing more with my time. How can you just sit there? My inner critic, The Voice was getting louder and louder in my head. You have this whole summer to write and you’ve already wasted so much time. Get busy!

In fact, my last post was about being more productive. I was discussing this with a trusted confidant and she said, “Your writing and accolades are wonderful, but they are not the reason you are valuable…could you just be this summer and allow yourself to rest?”

Preposterous! Right? Crazy talk…or exactly what I need.

The next day as I sat in shame on the couch and watched a repeat of Grey’s Anatomy instead of writing, I recognized myself in the skeleton of the storyline. Christina Yang hadn’t been able to operate since the shooting at the hospital and she didn’t think she ever wanted to again. Her co-workers and friends chastised her. They thought her value came from being a surgeon too. What would she be without it?

Derek recognized that she needed to be left alone. She needed to do anything, but operate. She needed to be. Just be without the pressure of keeping the pace like she had before. Once she was allowed to be, she eventually found her way back to medicine.

Another friend reminded me that I once told her that I am compelled to write, I can’t stop it. It is a part of me. I am valuable as I am. Just because I am taking time to rest now doesn’t mean that I am wasting or losing my essence. I am a writer.

Even through the din of The Voice berating me, I have continued to be quiet and rest. I have been eating good healthy food and finding balance again. Interestingly enough, I am now starting to yearn to write again. Not because I feel obligated to, but because I want to.

In allowing myself to be, I may have unhinged the block I’ve been experiencing for this past year. Maybe allowing myself to be still and realize that I am valuable exactly as I am right now is opening the door to deeper self-acceptance and faith in myself. This trust and acceptance may open me up to being an even better writer.

Right now I can embrace the excitement of writing again without the pressure or expectation of the final outcome. I can make writing a part of my daily practice of self-care, but not beat myself up if I don’t get words on the page. I can listen to myself  and make healthy decisions daily.

I can be.

The Next Right Step


My class is officially over, but my professor pushed our final paper back by a week and I have been utilizing my super procrastination skills so I’m not quite free yet. I thought about getting it done today, but I needed one day of no school work. I’ll tackle the paper early tomorrow and get it in the mail on Friday so that my weekend will be school free.

I feel like I have a lot of things in the air right now. Lots of ideas and intentions and my focus is scattered. I haven’t had this much time on my hands in a long time and I have so much I want to accomplish in these two months. I want to establish a daily writing practice again. I want to exercise daily, get better at yoga and get back into my body. I want to update my website, finish an e-book, build my coaching business and outline a new book series. I want to reorganize my house and put my recycled jewelry on I want to finish my online professional development and study for the test I’ll be taking in August. I want to continue to learn about myself and work toward radical acceptance…

No wonder I feel scattered.

These are all awesome ideas and each one of those sentences above are worthy of my time and energy. However, I can’t focus on the details right now because I’m too busy focusing on all the things that I want to do. In essence, I am not being productive at all. Yes, I am making meals for myself and I did write three papers this month, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I need to prioritize and choose the next right step.  I might not get even half of those things accomplished in the next two months. I may get all of it done and then some, but I won’t get anything done if I keep sitting here doing nothing.

Sometimes even positive things seem overwhelming. At least with me. Change has always been hard. Moving from a place of fear to a place of conscious action is scary, even though remaining still isn’t really an option anymore.

The cure is the next right step. One of my favorite quotes says the same thing. It gets at the same sentiment with a little more flair – “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” E.L. Doctorow

I have referenced this quote in quite a few posts here. It rings so true. It doesn’t have to apply to writing. It applies to just about anything you’re facing, I think.

Colorado is burning up, literally. Three digit temperatures, little rain, arson and lightening have ravaged my beautiful state. It is sad and awful and it seems overwhelming. So many families have lost their homes already. My extended family has had to evacuate in Colorado Springs and it doesn’t look good. I can’t even watch the news because it is too upsetting.

I’ve always loved fire escapes on old buildings. I took lots of pictures of them when I was in New York. I am not afraid of heights, but I can imagine how frightening it would be to try to escape a building on one of these narrow staircases when your brain is clouded by fear and smoke and uncertainly about whether you will make it to the ground safely. But you keep taking the next step because it is your only option. You move to survive.

My struggle to complete all these tasks and move these ideas into reality isn’t as dire as having to escape in a fire. My life isn’t on the line in any immediate way, but I worry that if I continue to sit and think instead of act that I’ll waste what opportunities I have been blessed with. I don’t want to be running down a fire escape some day, my arms full of memories, wishing I had had the courage to take the next right step and make my dreams come true when I had the chance.

I want the smoke to clear and know that I used my time wisely.

Today, I will take the next right step. What can you do today? What is your next right step? Let’s stop thinking and planning. Let’s act.

Light a Fire


It has taken a couple of weeks of mostly being a sloth, but today I feel rested and I actually had some good productivity. I have been staying up way too late. My night owl soul has had a grand ole’ time with not having a bedtime. I have been up until 2:30 or 3:00 am for at least seven days. It’s easy to lose track of what day it is when you don’t have a bedtime.

Being in class this last week has made me have to be somewhat responsible. I have been enjoying the class a lot. It’s hard to imagine that I’m doing an entire semester worth of work in three weeks, but that is the beauty of summer school. Yesterday it was a little cooler and I sat on my patio for a bit and read outside. It was a little slice of heaven.

I’m settling into a slower way of life. It felt odd at first because I have been on a dead run for so many years. Even though I’m still taking a class this summer, it seems rather strange to have this much leisure time. Today was the first day that I really relished in the knowledge that I can do whatever I please for the next two and a half months.

I have been reading and writing. I think I might have finished a short piece I have been revising for the last year. I’m eating healthy and exercising.

I am lucky enough to be able to participate in a weekly writing workshop this summer. Just reading and doing some of the warm-up activities have lit a fire under me again. I found a book online about outlining and I just got another book that focused on character development and archetypes.

As I come back to my center, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically – I am feeling inspired to create on a regular basis again. I cleaned my house today, did laundry and the dishes. The organization of my surroundings has made me feel more grounded today as well.

I’m excited to keep working on myself and my creative life this summer. I worked incredibly hard this year as a teacher, but having these couple of months of freedom is making it all the more worthwhile.

Talk soon.

Spring Break!


I made it to Spring Break! Alas, as soon as my body realized a break was on its way – I developed a nasty upper respiratory infection and horrible asthma. Yeah me! This seems to happen almost every year. I wear myself down and do fine until I start to slow a bit and then my immune system takes a vacation and I’m left sneezing and coughing through Spring Break.

I had plans to go to the mountains after class tomorrow. Now, I won’t be going to class or to the mountains…unless a miracle arrives soon.

I have been writing about striving for balance for a while now and I haven’t been doing a good job of it lately. I need to take better care of myself by getting a good night sleep and eating better – lots of fruits and vegetables. Because the reality is that having my own classroom will be stressful too. I need to establish some better habits now.

On the nicer side of life, my creative fires have been stoked again. I have been working out some of my writing kinks and for the first time in a long time I opened up my guitar case. I have to give credit for that to my friend. When he asked me over to play, I didn’t want to admit how much dust lay on the abandoned guitar case. As the days drew near, I kept eyeing it and eventually with only a couple of days to spare…I opened it up and held her in my lap again.

It felt a little foreign at first and my fingers ached after only a couple of minutes, but it’s amazing how much muscle memory remembers. It was good to have it in my arms again.

I also watched a great documentary on the Hotel Cafe tour and that was very inspiring as well. I haven’t written my own songs in such a long time and the idea of starting up again is exhilarating and slightly scary. All the reasons that I stopped are coming back up to the surface and they still seem relevant, but all the reasons why I loved songwriting despite my fears are coming to the surface too.

Hopefully I can stop coughing and sneezing soon and have some time over the break to play and write!

This is Just a Mess


I have spent the better part of the weekend trying to clean up the mess that is my life at the moment. That sounds more ominous than it really is. I have been drowning in school work, resumes, cover letters and laundry – I worked super hard this weekend and still have an insane amount of work to do.

Today, I finished my laundry, read for class and reorganized my room. Well…started to reorganize. I still have quite a bit to do tomorrow, but I’m glad that I put a dent in it today. I have been putting off this reorganization project for over a month and it was getting a bit out of control.

I am extremely organized in most areas of my life, but I seem to let my living area go as I try to accomplish everything else. If I worked on it in little bits every week, I wouldn’t need this reorganization. Hopefully this time I will learn my lesson.

My wip’s are also very messy at the moment. I have been flying without a net with both stories and seem to have created quite a mess. I tried to jump into the story and go with it, but I don’t think I’m a writer who can follow the story as it unfolds without any parameters. Unfortunately, I seem to have pulled at a tiny string and now the whole sweater is unraveling…

I will work hard the next couple of days to finish my big living space reorganization and then I will focus those spring cleaning energies on my manuscripts. I need to reorganize a better working outline and get on the road again with my characters.

Sometimes you have to stop, clean up and start again.

Going Into Hibernation


I’m exhausted.

If I could enter a state of inactivity and curl up in a nest or a small cave and wait it out until Spring, I would be a happy camper.

That isn’t very realistic, but it’s nice to daydream.

In the meantime, I’m going to finish my tea and call it a night.

Sleep tight blogsville.

Stuck in the Middle With You


Courtesy of

This is a four-day weekend – kind of. I don’t have school with my kiddo’s, but I have class on Monday and Tuesday 😦

It will be nice to have a little extra time to work on things though because things are definitely piling up around here.

On to some writing news…I’m feeling rather stuck again. I’m stuck in the middle of both my wip’s. I think I’m over thinking and that’s making forward motion difficult.  Part of me wants to stop and work backwards. I feel like I need to do some back ground work on the characters and maybe write some scenes that won’t necessarily make it into the book, but will act as a compass for me – the writer.

Or…I might just work on scenes. Out of order. That idea makes me a little nervous. I’ve never worked through a book out of order, but that might be exactly what I need to shake me out of this and get me working again.

This is all dandy, but I have to actually work through this and write! This is key – obviously. The last two weeks I have let my crazy life take over again and my writing momentum has fallen by the wayside. I’m going to work on fixing this today.


Riding the Rollercoaster


It’s not late by my standards, but the week is catching up with me and this tired teacher/student is quickly turning into a pumpkin.

My students have been working on fiction stories for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I was teaching a mini lesson on what fiction stories should include. We built a list together of all the important story elements. We were discussing the plot and why in interesting stories, the protagonist has to try to solve the problem many times and often has to fail miserably before they find a solution.

It’s a kind of big concept for a fifteen minute lesson, but we were working it out. Some of the class seemed to be getting it, but most of them looked at me suspiciously like who is this crazy woman talking to us about stories. Then I got a picture of a rollercoaster in my head.

Like a flash of lightning, I knew how to explain it!

I asked them if they liked riding roller coasters? All the hands went up. I knew I had them. I explained that plot is like sitting in that roller coaster car, inching your way up that steep incline. Slowly moving up to the top and having all that excitement pool in your stomach.  We all leaned back and imagined that incline.

Wouldn’t it be disappointing to wait in line for an hour for a roller coaster ride, have the car go up one notch on the track, then even out and come to a stop? Wouldn’t that be boring?

I saw that they got it. I saw it in their eyes. I saw it in their notebooks.

I hadn’t anticipated how much I would learn about writing by having to teach it. I’m excited to enjoy the rest of the ride.

Just My Imagination


Today was a tough day at school. My students were seriously pushing me. One of the only lessons that went well was our writing workshop. I did a mini lesson on descriptive writing and although I still had to fight a couple of battles, most of the class stayed engaged. We did an imaginary tour of a forest as a whole class to focus on our senses while writing.

Some of the students giggled when I asked them to close their eyes and imagine a forest, but most of the class closed their eyes tight and really got into it. They really came up with some awesome descriptions. We spent the rest of the lesson writing and as I looked over their shoulders, I saw that a great deal of the class got the concept and was infusing their stories with beautiful description.

It’s interesting that having to teach creative writing is forcing me to think about the nuts and bolts of writing in a new way. I have to start all the way at the beginning, strip it to the core and present it to them in a variety of ways – hoping that one of those explanations will lead them to discovery and deeper understanding. I’m also realizing how far I have come as a writer in the last ten years.

Even though it was a tough day and I had a humdinger headache when I went home, I felt good about the descriptive language lesson and my ability to not crumble in front of the kiddos.

Now I have officially turned into a pumpkin…goodnight!