Weekend Coffee Share: Recovery Mode

Good afternoon,

I’m happy to see you. It’s a little dreary outside, but I’m glad you’re here. Help yourself to some lemonade as well as some K-cups. Once you’re done, have a seat. 

First of all, I apologize for my absence yesterday. I had a full, “exciting,” day. It all started yesterday morning, after I dropped off Colleen, the kids, and my sister-in-law at the gym. I drove to Duluth to get my haircut before going to a cookout at my mom’s house. After making a quick deposit, I got hit by a driver running a red light. I was lucky no one else was in my car and that the other driver was okay. As it stands now, I’m using my mom’s SUV until I get a rental. 

After that craziness, I picked up my family and went back to Duluth for the cookout, which doubled as a graduation party. The invite said it started at 1, but no one really showed up until around 3. We had a plan of staying for a few hours, then head home. We stayed the whole evening. We had a great time with family and a few friends of the family. So, we’re still a little beat from the party. We’re in our pajamas still. 

As far as writing goes, I’m recovery from a “period” of questioning my worth. I started writing in my journaling app on my phone, but not about my writing. I wrote about some of the personal stuff going on in my life. Mostly about my jobs and family. By the end of the week, I made a difficult decision. I decided to abandon my plans for writing my barbershop series. 

Just a quick recap, I wrote a post declaring my intentions to write a short story series on my blog. I wrote one story and shared it with a couple of writing friends. Because they enjoyed it, I thought it would be interesting enough to write a series of stories. For over a month, I outlined possible plots, brainstormed different “customers,” and so on. But nothing was clicking. And the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that the series wasn’t going to work. The biggest issue is the stories themselves. They’re more like vignettes than stories with conflict. It just won’t work.

So for those expecting the series to get off the ground, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I wanted the series to go well, too. I went in with the intention that this would be my opportunity to really showcase my writing prowess; something I’ve wanted to do since I started this blog. But after this latest debacle, I’m thinking serials aren’t the way to go for me. Lesson learned. 

Anyway, that’s all for this week.

Let me know how you’re week has gone in the comments. I don’t want the conversation to be one-sided. 

Until next time, take care…

Weekend Coffee Share: Questioning My Writing

Good afternoon,

Welcome to the house. Glad you can make it. I have plenty of San Francisco Bay K-cups. So help yourself. My wife likes this brand a lot. I also have almond coffee creamer. Kind of a nice alternative. So let me know what you want. I’ll wait. 

… …

Okay. Let’s talk. 

I don’t have too much to share about this week. We’ve been counting down the days until Zoe finishes kindergarten. We’re so proud of her. In the meantime, we’re making plans on what to do over the summer.

I wanted to talk about my writing. Rather, my writing woes. I’m in a slump. I’m not writing as much as I had in the past few months. I haven’t written in my journal as much. I don’t have any ideas for my next story. And I lost interest in finding a contest/magazine to submit my barbershop story. It’s just been a flat month thus far. I can count it up to being burnt out. But that’s not much of an excuse, even though it happens. I’m not “inspired” to write these days.

But the more frustrating thing about writing is that I wonder if social media is right for me. The writers and hashtag games I follow on Twitter. The Facebook groups I joined. The multitude of writing prompts I collect on the Internet. I feel like they focus on writing novels in the sci-fi/fantasy genre for young adults. Don’t misunderstand. They’re wonderful genres. And that’s the trend these days. I’m just wondering if there’s room for the kind of fiction I write: short stories in Mainstream Fiction. 

I expressed my grievances on Twitter and Facebook. About me not writing as much and about the lack of support for my genre and format. I even tweeted a call to find short story writers. I received random statements of encouragement from both platforms. Someone asked on Twitter why I put the call out for short story writers. I just know they’re out there. And I understand that short stories are a hard sell. Even the anthologies, as good as they are, don’t translate to best sellers. I feel chided and shunned, but I can’t be the only one that feels that way.

But regardless, this is the path I’ve chosen. This is what I believe my calling is. And I love the short story format. So make fun of me all you want. I don’t care. 

Sorry for the ranting. That’s what I’ve thought about this week. Maybe next week, I’ll have more to talk about.

What about you? How was your week? Anything exciting planned? Let me know in the comments. 

Until next time, take care.

Weekend Coffee Share: Celebrating Mother’s Day

Good afternoon,

Welcome to my home once again. You’re in luck because my mother is here with us. She says “hi.” We just finished lunch. We made street tacos. They were small, but fulfilling nonetheless. Unfortunately, you missed the tea party with Zoe, but we have K-cups with tea. Help yourself. 

So, this week hasn’t really been eventful. But I’ve been looking forward to spending time with my mom. It’s rare that I get time with just her. Most of the time, when we come over to her house, she’s got company. There’s my grandmother, who lives with her. That’s fine. But sometimes, she has other people over and that time goes out the window. Which is why today is so special. I won’t be able to spend Mother’s Day with her or Colleen because I’m working. (Presents are already taken care of.)

So, next to Colleen’s birthday and our anniversary, Mother’s Day means a lot to me. Reason one, which is obvious, is my wife Colleen. She does a lot for Jaxon and Zoe. She runs the household like a well-oiled machine. She’s very organized and detail-oriented. She makes sure everyone has everything needed for the day. And she’s a go-getter, never settling on anything less. She’s not afraid to speak her mind; to expose the “pink elephant in the room.” And she helped me to come out of my shell and speak up more. Colleen is the best mother around, and for that, I am grateful. 

The second reason Mother’s Day means a lot is my mom. She raised my brother and I on her own. For a long time, it was the three of us. My mom sacrificed a lot—time, finances, social life—to take care of us; to make sure we had everything we needed, and some things we asked for. She was Mom and Dad. She was hard on us when she had to be. And at the same time, she was nurturing. My mom did everything and then some. And there were days where I was ungrateful. Now, being a parent myself of two wonderful kids, I understand what my mom did for us.

Those two women, I am grateful they are a part of my life. I don’t think I would be the husband and father I am now if not for their encouragement and support. And I think the same can be said for all the mothers out there. On my behalf, thank you for being “Mom.”

What say you? How has your mother shaped your life? Let me know in the comments. 

Until then, take care and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world. 

Weekend Coffee Share: Pushing Through the Doldrums

Good morning,

Nice to see you again. Please forgive my yawning. I woke up early to take my sister-in-law to work. Pick out your K-cup of choice, and I’ll get it ready for you.

……

Now that we’re settled, let’s get to it. 

I’ll be honest, I really don’t have a lot going on. But I did want to share something. Since joining the gym three months ago, I lost over forty pounds since last year. The best part is that I can fit into clothes that before, looked so bad on me. I can fit into size 38 pants again. It’s been two years since I wore anything size 38. But I’m still working to lose more weight. But I slacked off with going to gym every day. I need to get that energy back. I’m working on sculpting my chest. Maybe not to Mr. Olympia-like standard, but to where I don’t feel like they’re drooping.

The school year is down to the last few weeks. (I know the teachers are excited.) I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. Zoe will be in first grade three months from now. Colleen put in a request for teachers. One of them was Zoe’s kindergarten teacher, who is moving up to first grade next year. So for the next three months, we have to come up with some activities. I’m trying to find some time in between where I can get a week off to enjoy the summer, but it’s not looking rather glum. I’ll have to be creative.

As far as my writing goes, I’m at a lull. I haven’t touched my story since last week. I’m still trying to find a writing contest or magazine accepting submissions. My writing friends gave me some suggestions, but they haven’t panned out. I haven’t done much writing in my journal and I haven’t done much in terms of planning future stories. I’m sure most writers go through these periods. At the same time, I don’t want to get too complacent. So I’m going to work on pushing through the same way I’m going to work up the energy to get back into my workout routine. Especially with summer fast approaching. I usually don’t do a lot of writing in that time. There’s usually too much going on.

While I’m on the subject of stories, I searched YouTube and Pinterest on writing good short stories. I watched videos and read posts from pins the past week. Most of the advice I know already, but it’s amazing how much I haven’t utilized. I felt like as much as my writing and non-writing complemented me on my stories, I felt like there’s something missing. I believe I can write better. I can be more creative. I need to take a day to sit and brainstorm. Maybe by the end of the session, I will have the building blocks for my next barbershop story.

If I may, I want to take you back to a few weeks ago. (There’s a reason for this.) When I was at work, I helped a customer with loading bookshelves into a rental truck. Casually, I asked the purpose for the shelves. She said it was for her office where she writes. That piqued my interest. We chatted about what we wrote and how we go about writing. I was happy to meet a fellow writer.

Fast forward to this week. One of the assistant managers at my store told me she writes. She had some poems published in magazines. It surprised me. But it goes to show that you never know who you’ll meet unless you get to know someone. I made a deal with her to exchange our works in the near future. I knew I liked this manager; now I know why. 

Well, that’s all for this week. I’m sorry I don’t have more to report. Maybe next week. In the meantime, I want to hear from you. What happened to you this week? Let me know in the comments. 

Until next time…

An IWSG Post: What Motivates You?


Good day.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for the The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. The first Wednesday of every month, bloggers from all around write posts designed to encourage writers of all levels. We share our progress throughout this writing journey. We express our fears and share our joys. If you wish to join in the fun, click on the link here.

The A to Z Challenge wrapped up a couple of days ago. This year, I declined to participate. There are a few reasons. One, in the two years prior, I was disappointed in the lack of responses. I felt like no one cared about what I had to say. Two, coming up with random topics for two years was challenging. Brainstorming a new set of topics was near impossible. Three, my experience was limited, at best, about certain topics. I feared what I wrote would be taken out of context. And four, with all that’s going on now in my daily life, it wouldn’t be easy to set aside a set time to write and post something. Valid reasons, all of them. But the truth is, my heart wasn’t into it this year. I didn’t have the motivation to take the time out of my schedule to write anything. 

This got me thinking about what motivates us to do what we do. We set goals in every facet of our our lives. Career, financial, relationships, whatever.  I believe motivation—the reason(s) behind what we do—determines whether we succeed or fail. And many ideals factor in what motivates us: morals, lifestyle, finances, etc. 

For example, many writers, including myself, have a goal to write a novel. Here’s where motivation kicks in. If I say I want to write a novel because I want to be published, that’s fine. But if I write a novel just because I want to make money as a best-selling novelist, chances are I will be disappointed. Having a novel published are slim because everyone has the same goal in mind. Even with putting in the marketing work, researching trends, and receiving reviews, odds are still unlikely that hordes of readers will run to bookstores just to buy my book. And what if my book is not a bestseller? What if I don’t receive positive reviews? What if I’m too late latching onto the trend? Then what? What will motivate me to write another book? Possible answer: nothing, if my motivation is to make money. 

On the other hand, if I want to write a book because I want to tell a story. If I want to share an experience or address an issue through the written word, then more rewards are possible. It’s more likely I will be satisfied with what I wrote. It’s possible that I will enjoy and appreciate the process, not matter how long it took to write. It’s possible sales and reviews will not be the driving force—not saying that they’re not important. Bottom line, there’s a greater feeling of satisfaction, even if it’s the only book I write.

Now these situations are hypothetical. Everyone’s writing journey is different. Some writers might not want to write a novel; they feel more comfortable writing short stories or memoirs. Some might not go into writing looking for a big payday; they want to write as a hobby or an opportunity to challenge themselves creatively. Regardless, the motivation behind writing will determine whether or not your journey is worth the hard work. Now this is not meant to sway your thoughts on why you write. What I will suggest is to take some time to learn about your motivation, especially if you’re feel disconnected with your writing.

What say you? What motivates you to do what you do, writing or otherwise? Feel free to comment. 

Until next time…