Finding a voice…

I gave this the title “Phhfsdt….plksd….teraew22..#..dtrah?!” A few minutes ago.  Then I had the good sense to put real words in the title so Google would like me. (Not that putting that gibberish in the first sentence helps much…)

I like the idea of building a sense of group here–of me giving you regular doses of “writing” that you can both enjoy and–at least sometimes–use.  I’ve been blogging for over six years, so it’s not like this is a new skill base that I need to acquire.

But suddenly, it is.

How did that happen?  I found having something to say pretty doable when I was talking about retirement issues.  Of late, those posts had turned into mostly “life in general” commentary anyway.  so I could just do that on this site instead of the old one, right?


… it’s not working.  Today I am finally starting to see why.  As an “authority” you have to have a voice.  You have to talk about the things that can make a difference in whatever aspect of life you’re trying to be a resource on.  But as a novelist?  It’s just the opposite.  You don’t need my voice–in fact it’s an obstacle when it’s time to create a new story,  You need to be able to hear the voice of that book, not me as a writer of several books.

I am writing a new story and that makes this a key factor to figure out.  I want to engage.  But I also want to give you a really good story in what I offer next.

I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with this.  There are probably very effective ways, and I just haven’t uncovered them yet. For now, instead of my voice, I will give you my eyes–some of my favorite shots from what I’ve been blessed to be able to see for myself.

Abiqui NM

Abiqui, New Mexico….red rocks and desert: connecting soles to soul.

Near rainer at sunrise in Nov

Sunrise….the ultimate statement of hope.  (Mount Rainier, WA)

THE Ruby

Oneness: us and the ocean  (Ruby Beach, Washington Coast)

Carry on?










Wanted: One, nice, long, flexible GROOVE

I do pretty well at avoiding ruts–mostly because I’m terrible at doing anything again and again.  But a groove?  That’s something I not only want to find myself in–I want to stay there once I get there.

IPoint Reyes‘ve been thinking a lot about the value of routine lately.  Too much of it and you get stagnant.  Too little and you drift.  I believe in routines. But what I can finally see is that they’re tactical–part of something bigger that makes them worth sticking to. That’s where this yearning for a groove took root.  A groove is strategy.  It’s a commitment to doing what you believe in on an ongoing basis.

A groove is only for stuff you want to work on.  Day in and day out.  For me, that’s writing.  One of my sisters has an amazing curiosity about fibers–for her it’s dyeing, spinning, and knitting–or otherwise working with–whatever combination of fibers she’s decided to try.

One of the great delights of a groove is that you get to decide how big it’s going to be–how much time you’re going to dedicate and how often. For me, three hours of writing on a new book each day is about right.  I may also do a post like this or work on promotional stuff, but that’s different and not part of my groove.  The three hours is for creating the next book.

That was the most important ground rule when I launched my groove seeking effort January 1.  Three hours every weekday, two hours on Saturday, and one on Sunday first thing every day after my morning routines.  (Did I mention I’m awful at doing exactly the same thing again and again?)

I’m almost 3 weeks into this now.  They claim it takes that much repetition to create a new habit.  I think this one is going to work. And I think that even after having my groove shot to smithereens for most of last week.  It was a bad week for a groove–but come Monday of this week, I was on it with as much enthusiasm as January 1

If I’m rigid about what I want to get done, I’m in a rut.  When I had to deviate, I resisted and resented the interruption.  With a groove, it’s a matter of accepting the reality of the moment and then getting back to  in the groove as soon as I can.  (I never really leave it in my mind and I have more energy because I’m not fighting the need to respond to the “fire.” )

One of the coolest things about a groove is that it makes drifting far less likely.  When I get pulled away by other things happening in my life, I yearn to get back to what I was working on.  When I was more rigid with what I expected of myself, it was an on/off thing…and once I turned the switch off, it was really easy to leave it off for long time–to my own detriment.

Another cool thing is that when you treat it like a groove and the work isn’t going well, working on a different aspect of it is more satisfying than throwing in the towel for the day.

Ah, yes, a groove is a beautiful thing.  But why?

It keeps you going in the direction your authentic self yearns to go.  If you have to hop out for a day or two to deal with family needs, it will be waiting for you when you can slip back in.  No recriminations,  No nasty self-talk about needed to stop for a bit.

I hope this groove thing is part of my life from here on. Working that way leaves me feeling authentic and satisfied.  I also tend to get a lot more of the other stuff done.  (I have no idea why.)

So as a belated New Year’s wish, let me toast you with this:  May you be blessed with a long, happy, beautiful groove.

What’s Pretty Today?

I live in the Pacific Northwest.  That can be a very gray place this time of year–at least if you are looking at the sky.  A few days ago, I was out for a walk, hoping I didn’t get soaked before I got back in my front door, and a very cool thing happened.

I noticed the sky.  The sun was trying it’s best to come out.  The gray clouds were lining up in wispy rows of support for the sun’s effort.  It was pretty.

Yes.  Pretty.

It’s easy to notice the carpet of wildflowers on a glorious August day in the mountains.  It’s easy to notice when a whole boulevard of maples or oaks puts on its autumn best.

But this winter sky?  I came so close to missing it.