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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wishcasting: New Year

Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe. This week Jamie asks, "What is your wish for the new year?"

I wish to write.  Fiction, blog posts, letters to friends, short tweets.  I wish for writing to be a regular part of my life, rather than a "when I have time and I'm not too tired."

I wish to show love.  Use kind words, understand, breathe before I get angry, hug, encourage, listen, trust, show grace.

I wish to keep making space.  Clear out the objects I don't use regularly or love.  I've been doing this for a while, yet there is more to be done.

I wish to notice.  There are many precious moments in any given day.  A child learning something new, sunlight on countertops, the smile of a loved one.  I wish to notice and revel in these moments.

What about you?  What do you wish for the new year?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Am Not a Hoarder

Hoarder.  That word makes me cringe.  Did you ever watch the television show?  My husband and I did... once.  Neither of us could sleep for two full weeks, during which we purged a lot of things from our house.


A few days ago, my husband dared to utter the words, "You have a little hoarder in you."  Shock!  Horror!  Outrage!  How dare he?  I'm no hoarder.



"You do, too.  Have you seen your desk?" I said, feeling a little "I'm rubber, you're glue..." about it.



He didn't get shocked or outraged.  He simply said, "I know.  That's why I want to get rid of my desk... so I can't hoard things in it."



How annoying to be married to someone who makes level-headed responses like that (she says with a goofy smile).



Then a couple nights ago, he pointed to a plastic organizational bin in a seldom used room of our house.  "What's in there?  Because it looks like it might be full of garbage."



More shock!  More outrage!  Why is he picking on me?  That is my organizational bin full of important and useful things that I've had since my single days in my own apartment five years ago.  I mean, just two years ago I pulled an extension cord from that bin and it has been very useful.



Two years ago.  Hmmm.  Maybe it was worth the revisit.  In it were three of those little things you plug into an outlet to make it multiple outlets, instruction manuals to things I didn't need instruction manuals for, a set of coasters that hadn't been used since I moved in with my husband, a meat thermometer attachment that goes to my kitchen timer (I'd been looking for that for years and presumed it gone forever), and a tape measure.




Sigh.  



The meat thermometer went to the kitchen, the tape measure to the garage, and we got rid of everything else.  The empty storage bin is being banished to the attic until such point as it is needed for something actually useful.



I don't mean to hoard, but it seems I do without realizing it.  It comes in the form of keeping things that are or may one day be useful.  The problem comes in failing to reevaluate from time to time to see if those things are, in fact, still useful.



Tackling this syndrome is high on my goals list.  I'd like to enter 2012 with less than I have now and leave 2012 with even less.  It's time to get serious about purging.  In fact, as we tear apart rooms in our house one by one to put new flooring in, we will be ruthless about what is allowed back in the room. Everything else will go.  



No more "potentially useful" odds and ends.  It's either useful now or it isn't.  It fits in our life now or it doesn't.  



What about you?  Do you have any remnant items that need reevaluation?

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Can I Explain This Feeling?

First Manuscript

My heart is racing, yet my body is calm.  I feel this inner excitement like somewhere inside I'm doing cartwheels and simultaneously I feel grounded and focused.

One voice is saying, "Way to go!  Look what you accomplished.  I knew you could do it." Another is saying, "Now, here is what must happen next if you really want to do this.  It's going to take a lot of work."  Both voices come from somewhere deep inside me.  I listen to both.

What is it that has me feeling this way?

I just printed my first novel.  Please humor me as I say that again.  I just printed my first novel.

A plain manuscript, three hole punched and inserted in a binder.  A mere 64 pages, double spaced.  Nowhere near long enough to be considered a novel.  At 15,328 words, it needs to more than double in length to work as a middle grade novel, which is what I am aiming for. It's crap, really.  Utter first time novel writer, first draft drivel.

It starts out with feeling, then quickly becomes robotic (and then this happened and then that happened and then she said something).

Mind you, I say that with the utmost love because it's something.  It's a start.  It has potential.  With some time and some work and some love, it will become something better than it is now.

The point is, a story is there.  A beginning, a middle, an end.  And I wrote it.  I wrote the story that was in my head, the story that came to me in the shower one day.  I wrote it beginning to end.

And now it's printed.  It's no longer just a blip on my screen that disappears when I walk away from my computer.  It's sitting there in front of me on paper in a binder awaiting the love I promised to give it.

Somehow now it's real.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wishcasting: Celebrate

Wishcasting badgeIt's Wishcasting Wednesday so the gorgeous soul Jamie Ridler is inviting us to cast our wishes into the universe. This week Jamie asks, "What do you wish to celebrate?"

First, I wish to celebrate Jamie!  Today is her birthday.  I wish for her to have a day filled with magic, blessings, and unbridled joy!

Second, I wish to celebrate new friends, most of whom I met through some new mommy programs.  As adults, sometimes it's difficult to meet new friends, so I am thankful for the groups that brought us mommies together.

Third, I wish to celebrate my leap in to the world of writing fiction.  In September I completed a short story and submitted it to NPR for a short story contest.  Even though I didn't win, I'm still really proud of myself for having the courage to send a story out into the world.  In November I finished a (really, really short) novel.  It needs some major work before it will be presentable, but holy smokes, I wrote a novel!

There are so many more things I wish to celebrate... my loving husband, my intelligent teen, my wide-eyed baby.  After a couple of rough years, this has been a year of blessings.

I also wish to celebrate you! Thank you for being here. If you haven't already, please connect with me on Facebook at facebook.com/sherrimhutchins and Twitter @smhutchins.  Once you're there, drop me a note to say hi.  I promise to say hi back.

What do you wish to celebrate?

Two Books That Changed My Life This Year

One Thousand Gifts

Every Soul a Star

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Paralyzing Questions

DSC_0230



Writing is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  I’ve written lots of things in different formats over the years.  Outside of this blog and back in my classroom days, most of what I have written hasn’t seen other eyes.  



Now I want to stretch in to the publishing world.  I want to write with the intent of being published.  That has made things seem more real and also scarier.  Now questions creep up.  What should I write?  I need to pick a genre or a topic.  Every author has a genre or is an expert in a particular field.  What am I an expert in?  What if I want to write fiction and write non-fiction in an online setting?  Can I do both?  Even if they are completely different?  



It’s questions like these that have kept me in limbo for a while, feeling like I shouldn’t even write until I have it all figured out.  But that’s silly, isn’t it?  The best way to figure it all out is probably by actually writing and outlining and fleshing out ideas.  



Another one I’ve struggled with is What if I can’t write enough?  You see I’ve always struggled with conciseness.  In school I was the kid whom teachers repeatedly told to elaborate, the kid whose 3-5 page paper only made it to the end of page 3 with some margin tweaks and font changes.  Not because I didn’t answer the question, but because I said everything I wanted to say in 2 pages.  For goodness sake, what writer has trouble writing?



Then there’s questions like...Where will what I write be published?  Will anyone like it?  What if people hate it?  What if I’m mocked or proven wrong or publicly chastised?  What if I never get published by anyone... ever?  



Oh, the questions.  They can be paralyzing.  



So I do the only thing I can think to do.  I try to push all those questions aside and write anyway.



What paralyzing questions do you struggle with?  How do you deal with them?

Connect with me on Facebook at facebook.com/sherrimhutchins and Twitter @smhutchins.  Once you're there, drop me a note to say hi.  I promise to say hi back.

Hello Again


Sidewalk after rain



Hello, blog.  Hello, blog readers... if any of you are still here, and I truly hope you are.  



I’ve given blogging a break this year, posting only very sporadically as I felt called to it.  After four years of posting and a big life shift from working web producer to stay-at-home mom, I needed some time.  Time to step away, time to figure out my new life, and time to just be.



And now... now I am ready to write.  In fact I have been writing.  I have spent the fall working on fiction.  I’ve also been dreaming of next steps for my journey.  I’ve thought about new online spaces that can offer fresh starts and overarching themes and branding and all of that stuff that “serious” writers “should” do.  In time, that may come, but I don’t want to rush into anything only to abandon it because it wasn’t the right fit.  



In the meantime, I need a place to let my creative spirit run rampant.  A place to dream and explore and acknowledge beauty and support others and be supported.  A place to celebrate the extraordinarily ordinary in this everyday life.



And wouldn’t you know it, I have a place.  Here, with you.



Thank you for being here, for joining me on this journey and letting me join you on yours.  



As part of this growth, I also have new Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I’d love to connect with you and support you in those spaces.  You can find me here: facebook.com/sherrimhutchins and @smhutchins.  Once you’re there, drop me a note to say hi.  I promise to say hi back.