Mighty changes are scary: a reflection from #AtoZChallenge

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“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”~Socrates, Greek philosopher
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I’ll admit, some of my Alphabet Haiku posts have been pre-planned, but not this.

I said at the beginning of this A to Z Blogging Challenge that I thought pre-writing posts was kinda cheesy, in the sense that it wasn’t holding true to the spirit of the challenge which is to blog every day. Then I realized doing so gives me the freedom to explore other websites and writers participating in this challenging. So I did that. Then I didn’t. I flip flopped between the two, and today is one of those spontaneous posts.

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I wrote it with the intention of posting on the Haiku Horizons site for the Week 112 prompt, Fear. I choose not to link up there because my self-hosting site adventure is progressing.

Now, to say “adventure” is putting the whole experience mildly. I’m going to focus on the process, my experiences and insights once I move over to the self-hosted site next week. That seems fitting. As of April 23, I’ll no longer be posting to this site, so it will remain a historical freeze-frame time capsule of my humble beginning. I want traffic to direct to that new site, because sending people here seems…well, unnecessary since it will become static soon.

It’s an adventure, and, yes, fear is a part of that. This haiku feels appropriate.

Plants and kittycats for #AtoZChallenge

AtoZ-LetterB-2016AtoZ-LetterC-2016“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.”~Charles Spurgeon, British
Clergyman
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I’m combining Days 2 and 3 of the AtoZ Challenge today because, by pure coinidink, my “C” haiku relates to this week’s Haiku Horizons prompt, Cat.

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AtoZ meets Haiku Horizons #110 “Cat”

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I wrote my alphabet poem before I saw the topic, a match made by obvious telekinetic mental abilities…or else I’m just being mental. Believe what you will.
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I am not a gardener by any means. I am humbled by the lawn art my friends accomplish, but endless cycle of pulling weeds is not worth it for me. Houseplants are as green as my thumb gets, and I’m quite adept at keeping my plants thriving. Tree was once on life support–two or three times, actually, but we’re not counting–but she has been groomed and trimmed, and last year birthed the cutling, Sprout, who is pictured in Haiku B. Curious about their growth and transformations, then check out the Instagram hashtag #TheWritersTree to follow the amazing journey of life and death and life of my 18 year old tree.

Be sure to visit other blogs on the AtoZ Challenge to see even more delightful topics.

My final #ROW80 Round 1 reflections and suggestions

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”~Winston Churchill, English statesman

A Round of Words in 80 Days. The challenge is detailed here on the #ROW80 blog for all writers, bloggers, artists and whomever has large goals to achieve. This is done four times a year, with Round 1 ending today. This is a summary of my accomplishments–or nots–so you can read my original post HERE.

Which brings me back to A Round of Words in 80 Days. By the end of the first quarter–or ROW80 Round 1 dates of January 4-March 24, 2016–these are my ROW80 Round 1 goals:

HERE ARE MY RESULTS for the first Quarter of 2016:

1–Polish and publish Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks.
NO
There’s no excuse: I got distracted, I put other things first; I was intimidated with a fuller-length fiction story…you name it. I could’ve made the time–I had the time–but I didn’t. This is something to roll over to Round 2, for sure.

2–Find and do a blog self-hosting site. 
YES–or at least almost; it’s in progress. I’m just waiting on the final domain name transfer. Have you ever done this? It’s simple yet surprisingly complex. I’ll share my thoughts in future posts, an education I wish someone had walked me thru.

3–Blog planning.
MAYBE
It’s something I’m working on.  I blocked off days to post my Haiku Horizon posts, for example, and some days I met them; some days, the post moved; some weeks I never wrote or published the post.  “Publishing” a post is the key.  Here’s the scary thing: I looked back at my “drafts” folder here on WordPress to see what I could reuse or update.

I had drafts there of 2011 posts.
What the *bleep* happened?!?

The list of 207 drafts includes ideas I was tweaking and blog posts I didn’t finish. This was most likely due to interrupted writing time. Now that I have set aside dedicated writing times, I can take these good, mostly-finished posts and complete them. Or not. Several things I’ve learned from this part of the #ROW80 challenge:

–I’m a good writer.
–I need to Keep Up.

Seeing this shocking revelation can help me blog-plan–I feel it!–but I’m not sure how to translate the feeling, this newfound confidence or whatever it is, into something practical.

3A-The Blog Planning goal included scheduling social media.
NO
This goes back to blog planning: what do I want my Twitter; Instagram accounts to achieve? What do I expect from my Facebook and Amazon Author Pages? A great idea came from a blog and Instagram accountabout defining yourself and your audience. Hers captured what I think I want: “people like me who read any books and all subjects, like to read YA and other subjects.” She has a bookstagram acct–I’ll detail that later–but it made me think about my mission statement, and maybe that will be a #ROW80 goal next round.

Back to social media, I need to see how that fits into my life. I’ve got the writing planning down with carved out spaces in my days week to do it, so work in these other tasks.

4–Update my blog: About Me, Resources and other tabs.
NO
Sounds like a copout excuse, but without defining “me” I can’t update my site to reflect that. Self-host and getting rid of the “wordpress” in website address was Step 1, so this is manageable. It still feels like playing, not actual working, and not sure how to let that go in myself

5–Fractured finger, heal thyself.
YES
Or so I think. Weds, April 20 is perhaps final-final appt. It’s haealed or healing it feels like it has movement most days, but doc sayas it may take a year or more to fully heal. Will it ever fully heal?

6–Make progress on memoir My Father, My Friend.
NO
And I feel like a total failure for that (also see #1 above)
I have writing time carved out. But I’ve let other things take over my time, ironically blog planning (see #3 above) has been a factor in this. Balance–need to achieve that.

7–Make time to play.
YES
I scrapbook old photos, doing that dreaded word scrapbookers quiver at: “catch up” That’s okay; I’m overwhelmed with past projects and layouts, but any progress is a step forward. I’ve scrapbooked with a friend of mine, and I rediscovered joy in playing with paper. I’ve stepped back a bit from ATCs and altered art; I’m not feeling that vibe now, but that may be a break I need. Writing and all that goes along with it (see #1, 3, 4, 6 above)

8–Do some fun writing.
YES
A bit. I wrote a fiction short story I began for Storytime Friday over on A Life Among the Pages and never finished. I’m still not done, but I had fun traversing along the world my mad, mad, mad, mad mind created.

In closing, my thoughts in review:
–I need to manage my time, but I know I can.
–I need to re-read my notes from Rochester Writers Fall Conference and review how the romance author publishes four books a year. She has a schedule, and that’s what I based Jimmy the Burglar: Thief of Socks goal on.
–This has been a gentle, and not so gentle, slap in the face of how I’m using my time.

Let’s see how I revise all this for Round 2. If you’ve participated, let me know how your goals went and your thoughts on the challenge.

Searches and spiders and Schoolhouse Rock

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”~Albert Einstein, German physicist

I would disagree with Al’s statement above: rather than “hope” we should “plan” to be more active in our futures.

What does my Internet searches say about me? That was a question posed in a recent Twitter Chat, I believe. That’s a [insert adjective] thought. In just 3 hours of writing in a Starbucks, web-based analytics would show me searching:

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Haiku Horizons #105: Spider

–“Haiku Horizons” (so I could get the apropos link for this week’s haiku challenge, my contribution seen here)
–“Geico squirrel commercial TV”
–“The More You Know NBC” (and clicking on the Will Smith link!)
–Scary as adverb (“senyence grammer scary”)
By the way, “scarily” is the adverb. I’m jolted back to the Schoolhouse Rock I should know.
–“Schoolhouse rock adverb” (to get the title: Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here)
In a surprising coinkidink, there’s a squirrel in the video.
I bet the song is stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.
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–“Sound of Music title” (it does have “The” at beginning of title)
–“Rochester writers contest” (to revisit the categories and submission requirements)

I also did a few interesting hashtag/user searches on Twitter. I searched this blog for some keywords. I commented on blog posts, posted to Instagram and checked in on Swarm.

And you? What do your searches say about you?

Things that make you go hmmmmmm….

Do you need a haiku and a smile? Read on….

“Develop success from failures.”~Dale Carnegie, American writer

SPEND is the theme for the centennial edition of Haiku Horizons. Besides my haiku, what have I been spending my time on?

I’m spending my time smiling with all the opportunities I have right now.

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Haiku Horizons #100: “Spend”

SOCIAL MEDIA
I’m catching up on old Likes and Favorites and Comments and all that warm-and-fuzzy-people-are-noticing-me stuff. There are folks there I would call my friends (but not a Facebook “Friend”) because we interact on a personal level. I like seeing their names in my Instagram Likes or my Retweet notifications.

WRITING
I have time to write, solid chunks of hours at a time to write, and I know how fortunate I am for that luxury. I have not spent time on my memoir lately because I think I needed a break. I have been working on Socks, which makes me all sorts of smiley. It’s a NaNoWriMo story I’m actually doing something with and it’s exciting to work on.

I wrote a letter to a friend. She didn’t write back, but that’s not the point. I’m sending a haiku postcard to another friend tonight. Writing can be joyful for others, too.

READING
Kinda. I have a YA old favorite to revisit and blog sites to also revisit. And I’m scheduling time to read, an act I haven’t done in a long, long time.

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BLOGGING
I’m mostly back to my regular posting schedule. I have found joy again because I have planned. My Happy Planner is full of pink sticky notes, purple and blue ink pen scribbles, vintage flavored scrapbook paper and sparkly washi tape. Scheduling my posts and ideas is a delight-filled rainbow. I’m becoming organized, which removes my stress from those “what do I do next?” thoughts.

I’ve started a new blog series over at my Deadwood Writers Voices: coffee shops. Writing in silence freezes my brain and freaks me out, so I often choose the hum of people and espresso machines over the radio or streaming music stations at home. Because coffeeshops are so much a part of my life, I feel the need to express all the quirky experiences and deep discussions with others. Hop on over and read the inaugural post: Playing Games.

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Socks and coffee and paper, oh my!

I’m delving into the world of Blog Hops. These themed sites offer a prompt or a theme to write about and then share on a weekly or monthly master list. That’s where I discovered Haiku Horizons. That’s how I just discovered The Weekly Smile.

I’m jumping in on week two, and all of the above makes me smile. Or this short list here:
–A kiss on the nose from my husband.
–New, bright-colored argyle socks from my husband. He thought of me on a business trip.
–Buying a cup of coffee for a stranger first thing Monday morning.
–Employees in two food places welcoming me with “Hi, how are you?”

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Share your happy smiles below, because we can never spend too much time smiling.

Or own too many funky socks.

Are you keepin’ it real today?

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”~Eleanor Roosevelt, American First Lady

It’s only 1:36pm as of this writing, and I already want to file today in the Let Me Forget pile.

Yes, feelings are real, and as crappy as they may be right now, I’m embracing them. Heck, makes me want to break out Jimmy The Burglar: Thief of Socks and give him a cranky day. Not counting the day after he robs the sock boutique, that is. Some days I eat my emotions; today, I want to write them.

Read any motivational quote and you’ll get some version of “without bad days we’d never know good days.” Why can’t I just have all good days? I recognize them, trust me, I will. I’d appreciate good days because I’d always be in a good mood. Others might say, but where’s the drama in that?

Some days I don’t want to be a TNT commercial.

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But really, what’s real? It’s whatever we give ourselves over to, actually real or not. It’s the beauty of immersing ourselves in books. Of creating worlds. Of soaking into a deep movie. If we believe, then for that while and maybe a little time after, it’s real.

Right now, my coffee is cold, so it’s time for a second cup. I really need that, especially since the Starbucks I’m in just got chilly. Really chilly. So it’s really time for that Clover brew.

If you’re having a real day, share a comment with me. If you’re not having a real day, commiserate with me. Either way, we’ll share strength together. And coffee. Or tea; your choice of beverage.

Social media haiku

“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.”~Richard Bach, American writer

Today was a delicious day, and it was totally media free.

It was a long drive back to Michigan yesterday, and my husband and I both took today off. I slept guiltlessly until 10:30am, getting out of bed only because I was hungry. It took a lot of effort to microwave my meal, so I stretched out on my LoveSac for a two hour nap.

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Haiku Horizons #98: Find”

At 4pm, I finally showered, ran a few errands and came home to relax with another easy-to-prepare meal. We ventured out for our annual sneak peek of the Plymouth Ice Festival at about 9pm, but tarps covered the carved sculptures to keep them as cold as possible before the 40-degree temps hit our area on Saturday. We did see some carving being done on a side street: a half-completed Norse-style dragon and a flying bald eagle. Then home for the night.

What makes this day delicious–aside from the sleep and nap–is that I didn’t touch my smartphone all day. I turned the ringer off, turned the alert volume to mute, and I left it face down on the bed until after I showered.

For almost 18 hours, I did not check email, status updates, alerts or voicemails, nor did I play any games.

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Finding myself in a haiku

It felt wonderful!

No guilt. No stress. What surprised me was that I did not feel itchy to check my phone even though I live with it connected to my hip. I was able to focus on other things around me: my husband, the TV, the blinking Christmas tree lights, the softness of the blanket, and my daydreams. I was active in our conversations and I looked out the window when we drove around. I found things to do to keep me from being bored. You know, like before there was Internet.

Have you ever unplugged from the world? How did it feel? Or why do you feel you can’t do it?

Cover myself in a haiku

“The secret of getting things done is to act.”~Dante Alighieri, Italian poet

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Haiku Horizons week 96 prompt: “cover”

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Sometimes you feel like a nap; sometimes you don’t.

What that means is sometimes you feel like two naps.

Examining the moon in haiku

“Be a yardstick of quality.”~Steve Jobs, American businessman

This week’s Haiku Horizons theme is Under. That poetry prompt reminded me of the full moon I saw last night. It’s the year’s last supermoon which coincides with yet another full moon. This one is called the Hunter’s Moon.

I’ve always been fascinated with the moon. There’s something so dark and sexy about the night’s light. “Diana” is the Roman goddess of “the hunt and the moon,” also known as the Greek goddess, Artemis. I’ve always felt a kinship to that sky lust.

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A quick Google search of Wikipedia and http://www.behindthename.com pulled up some interesting facts. “Diana” as the 297th most popular name in the United States; the highest ranking is currently #15 in Portugal. I’m a princess, a teenage hurricane, and a branch of Wicca I’m a character in: the 1980s sci-fi show V, the animes Sailor Moon and MAR; the children’s novel The Moon Stallion; the animated Acrobat in Dungeons & Dragons; and the Shakespeare play All’s Well That Ends Well. Following goddess and princess, I’m most pleased with the alter ego for DC Comics superhero Wonder Woman.

Back to the moon…Hunter, goddess…regardless, I am enthralled with its mystery. That’s where my haiku comes from.

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