how about fifteen minutes?

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Today’s prompt*** Why do you need this challenge? What project have you been afraid to start? Think back on the past six months. What were your time sucks? Why did you allow yourself to go days or weeks without writing? And what will you do differently this month to give yourself the gift of at least fifteen writing minutes a day?

I couldn’t wait to pull off that July calendar and see August sitting in front of me, fresh, without the markings of meetings or appointments or committment.  I snapped a picture of those blank squares.  And then I turned on the computer. Before I knew it, an hour had passed.  What?  Sure, I had finished two cups of coffee, a bowl of cereal, checked two email accounts and too many blogs on my reader to count.  And then I took some time to clean up my reader when I noticed I had a lot of blogs listed that haven’t been updated for months.  And I joined the August running challenge, sent a few emails, added a few items to my online calendar. 
Doesn’t take long to eat up an hour. 
This morning I finished reading a book on writing and I noted on my Goodreads page that I am reading about writing but not actually writing.  So, when I saw Ruth’s post about writing fifteen minutes a day, I jumped in. 
The first day of the month.
The first prompt – suggesting I consider how I let so much time go without writing.
I won’t post my fifteen minutes of writing here.  I will actually step away from this computer and put pen to paper.  What will I do differently this month?

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Closing time

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I am sad to see you go.  I have spent many hours with you.  At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the two-story format for a bookstore but I learned where you put your books and took comfort in the fact that you didn’t keep moving things around.  There was that winter when we lost power for 10 days at our house and you welcomed us in with warm coffee and power for our computers.  And what about those days one August when it was over 100 degrees – unheard of in this part of the country.  But inside we found a cool place to sit and sip our iced coffee as we waited for the sun to go down cool.  We planned most of our UK trip with books from your travel section, and it was a great trip.
Today I took my battered Rewards and Educator’s cards out of my wallet.  I won’t be needing them anymore.  We won’t be stopping by on Sundays after church to check out the new magazines and see what books are on the Buy One – Get One Half off tables.  I have my KOBO reader, purchased just a year ago, my way of saying you were my bookstore.  I know I should visit you one more time and bring home a few more books or journals, but it is too hard to be there now. 
I don’t know what went wrong, don’t understand the business world enough to understand why you are closing your doors.  I only know I will find an independent bookstore to call home now.
It is closing time.

if you give a quilter a magazine . . .

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she is going to find a quilt she wants to make,

and as she begins that quilt, she will find a piece of fabric that reminds her of another project that she saw in yet another magazine and she will head off to find that picture,

and when she finds that picture, she will need to pull out her ruler and cutter and begin to piece that new block,

and as she pieces that block, she will have to take a picture to show her friends,

and that picture will need to go on her blog,

and someone will comment,

and she will follow that comment to another blog,

and there she will find a quilt that she must make,

and then she will go back to the sewing room and . . .

 

*** inspired by Laura Joffe Numeroff

considering time and space

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Last week this large box was on my front porch.  I knew my new drum sticks were due to arrive but this box was large enough to hold 4 dozen pair of drum sticks.  No.  Seems my one small pair of retractable, wire drum brushes needed as much space as possible to make the journey.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about time and space and how I use (or perhaps abuse) them.  I have been looking at a book, The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno and wondering if it might be time for me to consider time, space, possessions, and my style of living.  Perhaps it is our upcoming trip to Uganda, or the piles of unused journals, paper, fabric, books, you name it, I have too much of it.  Do you think it goes against the idea of paring down if I buy a new book that tells me how to do it?

three bites

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I heard someone talking about three bites recently.  The idea is that you should try 3 bites of something before you dismiss it.  It seems a good idea.  And I realized that this is my third bite of the running life and I think I like it. 

When I was in college, I ran briefly with my father.  He was entertaining a mid-life crisis and was concerned about his health.  But I didn’t like running.  I would rather be dancing, swimming, or in a dance/aerobic class. 

The next time I tried running was about 11 years ago and I hit the trails as an encouragement to my daughter who was struggling with the running required in her P.E. class.  I was irritated by a teacher who just sent the kids out to run the track without any instruction about how to run or stretch.  My husband (a seasoned marathoner) became our coach, giving us the information we needed to succeed.  We ran a 5K after a few months which closed the running chapter for her.  But I was hooked and I found myself looking forward to that next run.  I began running with my husband (at the same time, not the same pace).  I ran through the early stages of a health crisis but as my energy waned, so did my running efforts. 

Over the next few years, I would go out for a run here and there but it wasn’t until last summer that I found my way back to the trail.  This time it was my older daughter who ran alongside me using the Couch to 5K program on our phones.  That accountability, someone asking if I was gong for a run, someone who would make a committment with me. 

It isn’t easy to fit all the things we want to do into our days.  Reading, writing, running, practicing drums.  When I begin to feel that I am over focused on running I try to remember that it is that drive that will get those shoes on my feet and out to the trail.  This is a part of my story.

just thinking

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It was one of those days.  Nothing on the calendar that had to be done.  There is plenty to do around here but today I decided I would just sit and let my mind wander.  It doesn’t seem there has been much time for that lately.  So I put out a bottle to make sun tea and I waited.  And while I waited I watched an ant carrying a heavy load, and I noticed the breeze in the trees and spent some time watching the clouds move across the sky.  I pulled out my e-reader but I didn’t turn it on.  I thought about the summers when I would sit and listen to the girls play and I heard the small voices of children from another yard.  We don’t just sit much anymore.  Or at least I don’t.  But maybe this summer I will give it a try.

the writing bag

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Most days, she grabs the bag before leaving the house.  Notebook, pens, colored pencils, glue stick, and scissors tucked neatly inside.  Some days she leaves it in the car overnight, only to find herself shuffling out to the garage in the early morning cold.  She can’t write if she doesn’t have the tools.  But these last few weeks, the bag sits on the bench by the door, neglected but not forgotten.  She knows that if she waits for the right time, it will only get harder.  So once again, she picks up the bag as she heads for the door.  There is a story out there today and she won’t let it get away.

a slice of competition

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Growing up with three brothers who were constantly working the pecking order (who is stronger, faster, meaner) I considered myself non-competitive.  I was the perfect girly girl – I will just sit over here and watch, thank you very much
But something has triggered in me.  And I think it is a competitive streak.  This is my third month for the 50 mile challenge.  Last month I ran 73 miles and it felt good.  I don’t remember my ranking just that at some point, I was number 11 or 12.  This month, I found myself sitting in the top 10 and it felt good.  Until the day last week when I was number 5 for a brief moment and I knew I wanted that place.  I wasn’t going to run the next day but I didn’t want to risk losing my spot.  When I saw my ranking sink to number 7, the endorphins kicked in.  I don’t know these other runners.  I am sure they are lovely women.  All I know is, I won’t go down without a fight.  And I guess I have to stop saying I am not competitive.

YES

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I am not always good at remembering the goals I have set for my school year.  I can hold on to the goals and tasks we agreed to do as a staff this year but I am sure I set some personal goals too.  I just can’t seem to put my finger on that list.

But for this upcoming year, I have a goal that I think will be easy to recall.  My goal is to be quick to listen and slow to dismiss.  I know I won’t be able to say YES to every request but I want to consider each one and to work at looking at the possibilities.  As an administrator, I am in the position of needing to watch the budget and keeping the big picture in sight.  Somethings just don’t fit, at least as they are originally proposed.  BUT . . . with a little thought and a bit of flexibility . . . who knows.

I love this book.  I gave it to the elementary principal to read to the first graders last week during their all day read-a-thon.  And it was sitting on my desk when my daughter sent the email telling me she had finished her last grad school exam.  Today is your YES day I replied. 

So, 2011-2012 school year – my YES year.  I think I might need a new writing journal to record the journey – a YES Journal!