writers life

Autumn Bucket List

I have always been a summer person.  Give me a pair of shorts and some flops and I happy. Let me walk in the grass or along the beach with my bare feet and I’m in heaven.  But holy cow, this summer had me longing for a little frost on the pumpkins.

As I’ve been counting the days to the arrival of September and the official start of pumpkin scented candle burning – and having nothing better to do because it’s been too hot to be outside – I decided I needed an autumn bucket list.  Nothing like daydreaming about cooler temperatures.

autumn bucket list

Number 5 on my list is truly yummy!

All you need is a pot of water (low rolling boil) and a can of sweetened condensed milk. Remove the paper from the can and place in water (on side so it rolls).  Bring water to a slow, rolling boil. The can should always be completely submerged and you’ll need to roll the can about every 15 minutes or so to ensure the condensed milk caramelizes evenly. Add more water as needed.   Boil 3-3 1/2 hours.  Drain water.  Carefully remove the can and place in cold water.  Let cool before opening.  (Maybe an hour or so.  The can should be cool to the touch.)  It’s really important to not rush this process – patience is essential.  Nothing worse than being burned by hot, gooey caramel.  We serve with sliced granny smith apples.  Delicious!

Here’s wishing you a fabulous fall season!  And if you have a must do activity or recipe feel free to share in the comments.

-Deb

 

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The Writing Gardner

After being attacked by what may be one of the world’s nastiest bugs, I’m happy to report that I’m on the mend – AND – ever so grateful for good health!

I wish I could say that all of my down time wasn’t wasted – that I had used that time to write.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  My body hurt.  My head hurt.  All I wanted to do was sleep.  And that’s pretty much what I did – from the couch to my bed.  I didn’t realize one person could sleep so much…

Needless to say, when Saturday rolled around and the afternoon high topped out in the upper 60’s, I took advantage of feeling better.  I started my first container garden.  In the past, I’ve always planted the old fashioned way – tilling the soil, preparing the rows, etc. Containers were for city folk…

Or are they?

Having fresh vegetables is important to me – especially ones that haven’t been sprayed with boo-koos of pesticides.

And

Finding time to prepare the garden, work my job, and write… There just wasn’t enough time in the day.

So, I’ve decided to give this a try.

Container Gardening

Not sure how this is going to turn out but hoping I’m working smarter (not harder)!  Keep your fingers crossed – because I don’t necessarily have the greenest thumb.

Confessions of Grouchy Writer

lollipopWe all have those days – you know the ones where it feels like someone has licked the red off your lollipop.

It’s nothing major, just little things setting your teeth on edge and you can’t figure out why your blood seems to be boiling beneath your skin.

But it could have something to do with the fact that you just showered, washed & styled your hair, put on clean clothes and walked outside – only to be blasted by the smoke from your neighbor’s burn barrel.   Now you smell like a campfire and every time you move your head, a smoky aroma wafts from your hair.

Yeah, that could be one of those little things…

frustratedIt certainly set the tone for my day and no matter how hard I tried to find the humor in the situation, I couldn’t get past the fact that my neighbor was oblivious to the gusting winds that so conveniently blew the smoke and smell out of his yard into those downwind.

monster

 

I’m sure he had no idea how much I like being outside on sunny days – especially after being stuck inside all week. It’s not like he was aware that I have allergies and  being exposed to smoke triggers some pretty severe headaches. And I’m absolutely positive, he had no idea that his playing pyromaniac would release the monster that I try to contain.  But it did…

and Whiny Deb emerged.

I not only managed to stomp around all afternoon, I was the poster child for the grouchy and irritable.  Evil queens and fabled monsters were busy taking notes.

Now as the day draws to a close, I look back with much regret.  Because my plans (writing outside) didn’t pan out, I took a dive into the deep end of the pouting pool. I focused on what I couldn’t do instead of what I could.  Because of that, I missed some valuable writing time and I have no one to blame but myself.

 

 

 

Writing: Procrastination & Accountability

When I wrote my first novel, I worked a full-time job, had two kids in school which meant football games, practices, etc.  I was taking a weekly creative writing class as well as dealing with health issues.  I had a lot going on.

I didn’t publish anything in 2015 – worked on a couple of stories but failed to finish anything.

Flash forward to 2016:  My kids have graduated so no more practices or games.  That, in and of itself, freed up all kinds of time.  I still work a full-time job but I’m usually home just a few minutes after five.  Logically, I should have been whipping out the words only that wasn’t happening.  In fact, short of my blog posts, I wasn’t making any significant headway with my writing – particularly with my current WIP.

procrastination

image from Microsoft Word Clipart

So what was the problem?

It wasn’t writers block or my super busy life. We have an on-going home remodeling project but that doesn’t take anymore time than picking my kids up from practices and attending football games.

My problem came down to accountability.

Back when I was writing my first book, my creative writing class sort of morphed into a critique group – same instructor – only we started bringing in what we were working on.  We shared excerpts of our work, offered and received honest critiques and we made progress.

no excuses

image from Microsoft Word Clipart

The excuses.

Over the past year or so, I let other things get in the way of my writing. It started with a “just this one time” and became an “I’ll write later” kind of situation. It’s amazing how easy it was to justify my lack of progress.  I mean seriously, The Big Bang Theory couldn’t be missed and trolling Facebook – that was okay because I was just too tired to even think about connecting a subject to a predicate.

Only the excuses wore thin and I was left facing the truth. My book wasn’t going to write itself and the literary fairies weren’t knocking at my door.

So a couple of weeks ago, at our last book signing, we decided to give the critique group another try and seeing as how I couldn’t go empty handed, I took advantage of those spare moments. My characters, who had all but given up on me ever taking the time to listen, roused from their slumber and excitedly shared their stories.

I listened and I wrote and I made some real headway with my story.

And it’s been wonderful.

-Deb