It’s Intentional

Every January since I discovered the practice of yoga, I’ve written my intentions for the upcoming year.  It’s not a “to-do” list or a “to-don’t” list and it contains nothing that will make me feel bad about myself.  I see it as an opportunity to articulate my priorities with a bit of specificity.

Last night I revisited my intentions for 2012 for the first time since I wrote them:

-Find a way to quit my job to devote more time with the kids = check.

-Blogging = I started here in this humble space less than a year ago and have since added legit paid freelance work on sites I love.  Rating: exceeded expectations.

-Yoga = while pregnant and nursing (2008-2012 continuously) I practiced yoga mostly to maintain my sanity.  Now I am ready to get back into conditioning – physical and spiritual – and it’s a little intimidating.  Rating: still a work in progress.

Don’t think I was slacking, I always keep my list to a manageable 3-5 items.  Under that short list was a note, “Be steady this year.  Keep up with the blogging, keep developing the writing.  This is a process year, don’t focus on results.  Just keep at it.  Re-evaluate in 2013.”  I have never officially declared myself a psychic, but if I did it would be based on that quote (and it’s verbatim).

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On Writing And Being Published, Seeing Your Dreams Come True And Revising Your Future

I have been writing…a lot.  Due to some personal issues of two awesome Mommyish writers, I have been covering a lot of the news cycle.  I wrote three articles on Saturday, two on Sunday, and five on both Monday and Tuesday.  That’s somewhere around 7500 words in four days.  It has been intense, but so rewarding.  To see the volume and diversity of work published under my Mommyish byline blows my mind.  Three months ago I was sitting behind a desk advising commercial mortgage originators on the legal implications of their loan structure.  WHAT?  Now here I am gobbling up freelance writing work like it was my job…oh right, it is my job now.  I feel so blessed for the opportunities that have somehow found their way to me and my home computer.

All this other writing has left me with little time to write here on my own blog.  Today, though, is my day of rest.  No assignments calling my name, I settled in and wanted to write a much needed WTTM blog post.  But it hasn’t been all about writing.  This morning I built a cardboard rocketship with the kids and even got in a few minutes to read.  Which is the other thing I have been doing a lot of at night.

When you cover the news, your mind is frantically searching for the headline of the moment; the latest celebrity under a microscope after giving birth, the newest published study to guilt parents, or the tragic story that needs to be told.  After that, I need to unwind at night with some light fare and I’ve been scouring a ton of samples on my e-reader.  These books are mostly what you might consider “chick lit.”  Wow, is there some terrible crap out there!  You look down your nose at Twilight or The Hunger Games, but at least those have original and compelling stories.  Some of the stuff published under the chick lit umbrella is downright painful in its butchering of the English language.

As someone who once thought publishing a novel would be the best thing that could ever happen to a person, these terrible books both inspire and dishearten me.  But in the end they really just help me refine my future endeavors.  Until recently I have been saying my dream is to be a published author.  Of course, I have done that now, but in my mind I think I really meant publishing a book.  In any event, there are two problems with this goal.  First, is, as I already mentioned, there is a lot of garbage published, because, to be honest, publishers need content.  It’s the same as crappy news stories or painful movies.  Producers of the goods need goods to put out.  Some projects are lean, some are stunning.  To simply be published isn’t all the glory and praise I once imagined.  The second problem is I have no control over whether I get published or not.  After my studies in yoga (any yogis will know the niyama I am talking about) I have learned to give everything I can in my effort but let go of the results.

With these two points in mind, I set a new intention.  To continue to write what is in my head and my heart and to check in with how it is affecting my body and soul.  I have created some ugly unintended controversy (first here and then I regret ever asking for a medal for my natural birth – even if I intended more humor in that opening paragraph than came across) and I am figuring out how to navigate those rough waters.  I hope in the future I continue to tell more stories that I want to share, like the truth about my post-baby body, the feelings I have about Sabrina, and even revisit my screenplay in the form of a novel.   I can hold those hopes close, but the truth is I have no idea where this writer’s journey will take me.  That idea both thrills me and terrifies me, but I promise I will enjoy the ride.

Aspiring Mom-ager

Yesterday we had a long day of playing outside; running through sprinklers and swimming in the pool to beat the excruciating heat.  After bath time, Chloe sat on the couch in her diaper, sucking her thumb next to me.  I cuddled her closer, taking in the scent of chlorine and soap that lingered on her baby fine hair.

As I looked down at her sweetly, I thought, “she could be a model.”

Mom thinks daughter is beautiful.  So what?  Something in my gut warned that this thought came from a seedy place.

I listened as the inner dialogue continued.

“Those lips, that skin, those eyes. She is gorgeous.”

“It’s good that she hasn’t lengthened out to the full toddler look yet.  And with that bald head…”

(in unison) “…she could totally win younger roles.”

 

Brilliant idea coming…

Screw the law, screw writing, that conversation makes me think I’ve got what it takes to exploit manage the natural talents of my baby girl!

To prove it, I reveal my most recent to-do list:

1.  Change her name to Khloe just so I can say, “yes, that’s Chloe with a K.  She’s an aspiring Kardashian!!”

2.  While dancing to her favorite song, remind her to “make eye contact with the judges, um, grandma.”

3.  Admit she already thinks this is a real lullaby:  “Twinkle twinkle you’re a star, how I wonder what new car, I will buy with all the dough, we rake in from your one-baby show.”

Twinkle, twinkle sex tape star…wait, that’s a different version.

4.  Express my outrage over the gap between Toddlers and Tiaras and 16 & Pregnant.  What’s she supposed to do between the pageants and teen pregnancy?

5.  Start calling now to secure sponsors for her 2nd birthday party.  #1 on the list?  Elmo Neil Lane (after five shameless seasons of the Bachelor, he has to be close to this right?).

6.  To ensure #5 happens, work on a pitch for “My Super Sweet Second Birthday” featuring the big reveal of her final gift:  a mini motorized Mercedes.

Image courtesy of gelandism.blogspot.com.
Exploitation idea, all mine.

7.  Replace the milk in her bottles with Red Bull so she can power through the long and grueling audition days.

8.  On my speed dial:  the entire TMZ directory.

9.  Pad her diapers in the back.

10. Rejoice at my baby’s baldness because it means she can book jobs for infants.  √

Oh, and how about the photos that followed?

Crawling, genius! You look not a day older than 8 months!

Yes! Love the doe-eyed look!

I know I have some big Louboutins to fill (*cough* Kris Jenner), but do you think I have what it takes to be a star mom-ager??

 

It’s almost wrong to joke about that face.

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Novel idea (setting)

Last month I boldly declared myself a writer, so I thought I should get to some actual writing.  One particular idea has been lingering in my mind for a few years and I’ve been slowly fleshing it out since April.

Over the last week I have been overflowing with thoughts and questions about my characters – their goals, their desires, their arcs, their obstacles.  Consequently I have little else on my mind so I hope you won’t mind this departure from my typical mommy blog fare.  If you mind, I’ll be back to it soon enough.  Check back in a few days.

If you are game for taking a ride into my fiction world, today’s topic is setting.  I, personally, am a city girl and most of my travel consists of visiting other cities around the world or tropical islands.  I have little to no experience with what I envision as the setting for my story.

The novel is a dark thriller – no mommies or budding romances here.  I might call it fantasy, but don’t worry, there are no goblins or trolls or vampires either.  I feel in my gut it needs to be in particular place, even though I have no first hand knowledge of this location.

This is the rough sketch I have in my mind:

-the town is full of big, old houses with rickety fences in disrepair.

-hot spots include a bar, a hospital and a university.

-the landscape is sparse.  The summers are blistering, the winters frigid.  No tree-lined streets.  No lush gardens.  Even if the climate would sustain them, the inhabitants couldn’t.

-there are wooded areas.  Or at least one.

-there may (or may not) be a lake.

-most of the residents have lived their whole lives in this town, though a fair amount have gone off to war and returned.

This is where I turn to you my friends. Have you been to this place?  Do you know it otherwise?  Where in the US is it (town, state, region)?  Are there other distinguishing features that pop into your head?

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Hello, my name is Carinn and I am a writer

On occasion I look at my kids and wonder what careers they might enjoy (looking for ideas maybe?).

Will he be the singer in a rock band?

I am already beginning to rehearse my pearl of wisdom when they ask me for guidance.  “Find what you love and do it every day.”  Simple yet sage advice, right?  Except it’s damn near impossible to determine, let alone achieve!

You know what I love?  I love writing.  I love finding the words to express the way I’m feeling.  I love telling a story.  I love creating a world from scratch.  I love research and data.  I love finding a point of view.

I wrote hundreds of pages of stories, essays and projects through my school years.   In the past three years I’ve written a business plan, a thesis on the benefits of yoga for fertility, and a screenplay (that sits in a drawer).  These days I squeeze in time to write posts, jot down thoughts in my journal, and brainstorm ideas for novels.

Yet I never consider myself a writer.

Writing doesn’t pay the bills.  Writing is hard.  Writing takes time I don’t have.  Writing requires discipline.  Writing begs for talent.

I’m not great at this craft.  Even if I could start finish a novel, I could never get an agent.  Even if I could get an agent, I’d never be able to sell it to a publisher.  Even if it was published, no one would buy it.  Even if I had a best seller I would have nothing to follow it up.

See, I even have stories to prevent myself from writing stories.

Of course there are those inspiring tales of raging success against the odds – JK Rowling being rejected twelve times, Stephanie Meyer having the idea for the Twilight trilogy in a single vision, or Suzanne Collins having to bite her nails for a few years after publishing until The Hunger Games really caught fire.

Never give up on your dreams — that’s the lesson these tales teach us.  But what if you gave up on your dreams years ago?  What if you already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education that instructed you to be someone else?

What if your dreams are delusional?  Let’s be honest: the Paul Kinseys of the world don’t know they are the Paul Kinseys of the world.

What if this control freak is scared to be in an arena where success appears to be, at least in part, random?

WHAT IF?

WHAT IF.

What if I stopped taking life so seriously?

What if every day I woke up and just decided to write?

What if I stopped needing to make sense of every single thing I do?

WHAT IF!

They say that the first step to overcoming negative behavior is admission.  I admit all of these truths and more.  I admit I am powerless over the need to empty the contents of my brain, my thoughts, my often wild imagination, on paper.  I admit I cannot stop, would not stop, even if it means no one other than Ian will ever be a fan of my work.

So here I stand before you, beautiful people of the interwebs, to admit I have a problem.

“Hello,” I begin, sheepishly.

[Beautiful people of the interwebs say ‘hello’ back]

Hello, my name is Carinn and I am a writer.

 

I just hope this affliction isn't genetic