Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Making the Most of Our Time

Thought for the day:  If my doctor told me I had only six  minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.  [Isaac Asimov]

As you can probably tell by that nifty badge on the left, it's that time again.Time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and
 thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

So what do you think of the thought for the day? Does that sentiment accurately reflect your thoughts about writing? Is writing your number one top priority, such that if you knew your time was coming to an end, that's how you'd chose to spend your last moments? Is that what's required to make us... real writers? If that's the case... I don't just feel like a fraud; I am one.


No matter what we do in life, I reckon we all have our insecurities. In fact, feeling like a fraud is so common, it even has its own title: Impostor Syndrome.

If this syndrome had a motto, it'd be I have no idea what I'm doing.

If it had a mascot, it'd be a chameleon. Fake, of course.

And I suspect most writers are afflicted with this dastardly syndrome. Know what'd happen if a group of writers were on the To Tell the Truth TV show, and the host said, Will the real writer please stand up? They'd look at each other, and they might even begin to stand once or twice, but in the end, all of their derrieres would remain glued to the chair.

You write? I write, too. But does that make us real writers? Let's forget about the six minutes left to live scenario, because that's a little ridiculous. Let's make it six months. Would you spend your last six months frantically trying to finish your novel?

I wouldn't.


I'm kinda like that duck in the picture. I like hanging around with all of you cool flamingos, but just because I can stand on one leg doesn't mean I'm one of you. I feel like the nerdy kid sitting at the cool kid table in the lunch room.

But that's okay. I don't mind being a nerd. And since I haven't been told I only have six minutes or six months left to live, I intend to keep plugging away at my book.

But it isn't my top priority, and I'm okay with that.

I'd actually made some decent progress on my current novel, which takes place in Montrose School for Girls ( a reform school in Maryland) in the late fifties. THEN I got an email from a gal who spent a couple years there during that time frame. I'd emailed HER first, but it'd been so long ago, I gave up on ever getting a reply. And then BOOM! Right before Christmas, she contacted me, and said I could call her after Christmas. Since then, we've spoken several times, and she said I could call any time. She's happy to provide me information about the school and the conditions there. I mean, WOW!



So, bottom line, I've gone back to the beginning of the book to make appropriate changes to reflect this new information she's provided me. It's a little discouraging to be essentially starting all over again. Makes it feel like I'll never get done.

And maybe I won't. Maybe the joke's on me, and I really do only have six months left.

But ya know what? That's okay, too. But however long I have, I've gotta keep doing the things that make life worthwhile. That includes writing and reading... but there's so much more...

[image courtesy of morguefile]


Which brings me to this month's question:

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have? 

You name it. Cooking's a biggie, (Good thing, too, because we like to eat.) Being creative with our meals and trying new things makes it less of a chore and more of an adventure. Art and music are important to me, too. I've tried and enjoyed all kinds of crafts, but I'll tell you a secret. For the past year or so, Smarticus and I have been shooting a lot of pool. A lot. That isn't exactly creative, but it sure is fun. And I must confess, if he asks me if I wanta shoot, I generally drop whatever else I'm doing and reach for my pool cue.

                               How about you? How do you enjoy spending your time?

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
















71 comments:

  1. Reading. Gardening. Reading. Volunteering. Watching the birds. Reading. And sometimes a teensy weensy bit of writing. Cooking is big here too. As is eating. Did I mention reading yet?

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    1. Reading is a great way to spend time. One of my favorites, too. (And it's a heckuva lot better than watching TV!)

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  2. I often write poetry, but just for fun. When I was teaching I wrote several books on how to teach English to slow pupils, which were not exciting, because actually they were meant for slow teachers....I enjoy being able to do what I want when I want these days , that's luxury! Have a good time and keep going! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. It truly IS a luxury to be the captain of your own ship, isn't it? Not that working and raising children isn't rewarding, but retirement is a time of real freedom. (Sometimes, we even eat nothing but ice cream for lunch! HA)

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  3. That's cool how you've been able to talk to someone who has firsthand experience with a setting in your book. Best of luck with all the changes you need to make to your story, as a result!

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    1. I know! Super cool! And she and I hit it right off from the first time we spoke, too, so I think she's enjoying talking to me as much as I'm enjoying hearing from her.

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  4. If I was told I only had six minutes to live, no way would I spend it writing. I don't think that makes anyone a fraud, though. We can still be writers to the core even if we're other things, too. Happy IWSG Day! http://www.raimeygallant.com

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    1. I don't really think of myself as a fraud. I'm a gen-u-ine faux writer. :)

      Happy IWSG Day to you, too!

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  5. Six months to live - no, I wouldn't write either! I'd rather do something fun.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that... but not surprised. When one's time is coming to an end, doubling down to write even faster strikes me as supremely self-indulgent.

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  6. Love this - "But however long I have, I've gotta keep doing the things that make life worthwhile." Sometimes I take life too seriously. I need to - want to! - have more fun. :)

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    1. Sometimes, I reckon we HAVE to take life seriously, but if you want to have more fun, go for it! Whenever you need to lighten up, take a walk on the beach. (Better yet, wear a silly hat and skip on the beach!) How can ANYONE not grin like a Cheshire cat while walking on the beach? :)

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  7. Cousin/ soulmate Sue and I have been talking about writing a book 4 ever and ever. Title: Life Is A Cow Pie. Of course we won't as life is a trap, friend Sue. https://www.youtube.com/embed/_rfS47zmxhY?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0 … Anyway, love, cat.

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    1. Dear cat, I hope you and your cousin stop talking about it... and do it. Even if it's only something you do purely for yourselves. I love that title, too! I hope that means you're thinking of doing something on the humorous side...

      No, I don't believe life is a trap, and I'm sorry you do. Hang in there, sweetie.

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    2. P.S. LOVED that video of the wedding reception. :) Thanks.

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  8. I am not a writer of books, but I can relate to what you say in many ways. Being creative is a wonderful thing. My favorite way to spend time is with my family and it sounds like you do too.
    Hugs,
    'ma'

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    1. Yes, family and friends are tops with me, too. All we can count on is this moment, so how we spend it matters.

      Hugs back atcha.

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  9. I'm in the middle. Writing is high on my list, but anything that breathes comes first. Then writing above all else that remains. I like cooking, too :)

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    1. YES! "Anything that breathes comes first." What a perfect way to put it! You should write a book... HA! :)

      Cool. Most of my friends hate to cook.

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  10. Hmm...With just six months to live, I probably would try to finish my current WIP. Obsessive, much? How cool to have found a generous source of info for your next book! Wishing you happy writing in February.

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    1. Obsessed? Nah. I reckon you're a "real" writer. :)

      I know! It's so cool to get info about the reform school straight from the source.

      Happy writing to you, too!

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  11. 6 minutes, hmmm? I'm afraid I'd begin typing faster, as well. No, I'm not a great writer … but it's far better than my attempts at verbal expression.
    An easily discouraged sort, I've no yen to dabble in gardening or crafts. Let's just go with, I'm adept at weaving daydreams.

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    1. Really? You surprised me. I'm a pretty fast typist, but I don't think I could type anything worthwhile in six minutes. :)

      Weaving daydreams is a lovely way to pass time. Especially if you're lying in a grassy field and gazing at the sky...

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  12. How fun to find you, Susan. I had no idea about Imposter Syndrome, though feeling the symptoms myself at times. And I love people who love to cook though the older I get the less I have an appetite for.

    Happy #IWSG Day!

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    1. Hi-ya. Nice to be found. (Was I lost again? I usually AM...)

      Impostor Syndrome is a real thing, and I've had my share of flare-ups. It's encouraging to know how many others feel the same way.

      My hubby and I don't have as much of an appetite as we used to, either, but do we let that stop us from stuffing our faces? Nooooooo.

      Happy IWSG to you, too!

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  13. I don't know...writing is so much part of who I am and what I do. I don't really have money to do the things I'd want to do with my time left, unless I didn't rent a house to live. I'd probably still write because it brings me joy, and that's what we should do in that situation. I'd probably make the plunge and self-publish my series that I've been trying to get an agent for, since it's my dream to see those books in print. I won't self-publish now because that's not part of my plan, but I would in that case.

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    1. If you're that dedicated to writing, it's definitely what you should be doing. Good for you! Better to excel in one area than to be mediocre at a bunch of them, like I am. :)

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  14. Don't you love getting replies like that? I'd emailed the then-coach of Clemson's girls' basketball team and was delighted she and I exchanged several emails as she filled me in on details.

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    1. YES! To tell the truth, I'd given up on hearing back from her. Several other women who'd been at Montrose spoke to me, but they were there in more recent years, so conditions were slightly different. Being able to talk with someone who was there during the actual time frame of my novel was absolutely priceless! It must've been the same for you to communicate with that coach. :)

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  15. If a doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd quickly get a second opinion. If the first doctor's diagnosis was wrong, I'd go back and kill him.
    After I was imprisoned for murder, I'd write a book about my experience.

    Of course, you already know that music and writing are my main creative passions. Art would be another. Actually, I have so many creative interests that I'm never bored.
    It is best to continually expand our creative interests. There's a lot to discover.

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    1. You're too funny! (That'd be some kinda QUICK second-opinion appointment...)

      Yes, there's a lot to discover, and you're sounding mighty upbeat today. Awesome!

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  16. Susan - Other creative outlets? Your post had me returning to questions I have asked myself from time to time. Am I really a "writer"? I self-publish, so the only validation I can offer is my own acceptance of what I call the "finished product." When I dip my toe in the IWSG pool, where real writers hang out, I wonder if I am "writer enough" to join the club.

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    1. I guarantee ya: every single writer has asked himself those same questions from time to time. Every single one. What can I say? It's in the nature of the beast. How do we measure our worth as a writer? How do we validate what we're doing? Many of us in the IWSG have self-published, just like you, but you know what? The bottom line is: if you write, if you have a love affair going with the written word, whether published or not, you ARE a writer, and this group is exactly where you belong.

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  17. I am enjoy reading and cleaning backyard in the weekend.
    thank you for memes.
    have a great day

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    1. If you enjoy cleaning yards, you'd LOVE our yard. :)

      You have a wonderful day, too.

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  18. haha pffft. 6 months to live and you'd get one blog post from me saying I was dying and then I'd be gone. Wrack up all the debt I could and go out with a bang. I might publish the unedited books I have done just to get them out there, but more important things in life than writing.

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  19. Do what you love, enjoy what you do, but most of all, be with those you love - and beat him at pool.

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    1. Abso-doggone-lutely! That's the plan, anyway, but he usually wins more games than I do. :)

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  20. Hey - Let's meet on that bench and pretend we're writers. Ha!
    I'm faking it - oh yeah, I'm a writer..not typing, but full of ideas. Meanwhile, I've very good at watching Netflix. That's sad, but true.
    I can't pretend I"m really doing anything creative right now. I work, I sleep, I hang with Ray. And that's okay for a Feb slump period.
    That's my excuse. I'm sticking with it. And 8 ball in the corner..is that a winner? Cheers

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    1. Okeydoke! Sounds like a terrific plan. We can fake it 'til we make it. :) (And if we don't make it, we'll just have fun!)

      Making the 8 ball isn't a problem, but making it without scratching is another matter. HA!

      Cheers back atcha.

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  21. Actual phony here! So no there is NO RUSH on the edits. I'm playing hooky and enjoying the warm weather. Hope you are doing the same. that cartoon made me laugh out loud. Made my day!
    Now off to do anything but write... :)
    I say that and then admit I just wrote a piece for the 28 day challenge on the WEP - But it ended up at 1300 + words. Oops!

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    1. You... a phony? Nah. No way. Lately, you're a writing machine! (And I'm really happy for you. :) )

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    2. This reader who has thoroughly enjoyed both of your work can only say phoney/shmoney.

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    3. Sue, you're the sweetest person ever. :)

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  22. The fact that you're prepared to go back and make those changes to get it right IMO says you are a real writer ... whatever the heck that is anyway :)

    Other creative outlets? Yes, cooking for sure, and art occasionally. I also used to do a lot of amateur carpentry but I think those days are behind me now.

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate the vote of confidence. :)

      Hey, no need to give up on the carpentry yet. My grandfather did beautiful carpentry work until he was nearly eighty.

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  23. 6 minutes? 6 minutes??!!! Well, for one thing I'd avoid driving.

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  24. I don't write but I do enjoy your writing, and I certainly do not think you have one oz. of fraud in you. I can't shoot pool either, but it's fun. ;)

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    1. Thank you, dear lady. I'm a pretty darned good shot on the pool table, but most of the time, my hubby racks up more wins than I do. :)

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  25. I would put my family as a higher priority above my writing, so I'm sure I'm one of those ducks hanging with the flamingos too. I also enjoy taking photos, reading, listening to music, and attending theatrical events. Fun post!

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    1. Being a duck isn't all bad. After all, they're reeeeally cute. :)

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  26. I love to play pool!!! If I was rich I'd have a pool table :)

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    1. We aren't rich, but we've had our pool table since the seventies. For us, it was money well spent. We enjoy shooting now as much as we did back then, and we just got our fourth re-felting. :)

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  27. If I only had six months to live I'd make a bucket list and go do it!

    www.ficklemillennial.blogspot.com

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    1. If something on your bucket list is achievable, you should do it as soon as you can, regardless of how much time you have left. :)

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  28. 6 minutes left: I'd write to my family. Er, same for the six months actually. I'd want to leave them words. I'd spend time with them too - notebook balanced on a knee! I am a poor typist though. I think everything can be art - bring mindfulness and joy into an experience and there you go :-) Also looking forward to your next book! xx

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    1. Good plan! Writing to the people you love leaves them something tangible to hold onto and cherish.

      I agree with you about art. And, thanks! I'm sure as heck looking forward to finishing it! XX

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  29. I don't think I'd bother writing any more if I knew I had six minutes to live. I'd spend it with loved ones if I could. Or at least make sure I use the bathroom one more time before I exit this life. :)

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    1. HA! I never gave a thought to the bathroom. (I think I'd hold it!)

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  30. I'd try to watch a sunrise or sunset in those six minutes. At least I'd go down with a smile on my face. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. What a beautifully poetic thought. :) I'd like that, too, but only if my hubby were there watching the sky with me.

      Greetings back atcha.

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  31. I can't remember the last time I played Pool... You're giving me ideas ;-)

    Ronel visiting for Feb's IWSG Day Being an Insecure Writer -- And Happy About It

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    1. It's a GREAT idea! Go for it. Pool is soooo much fun. I've played for more than sixty years, and I've never grown tired of it. No two games are ever alike. :)

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  32. Hi Susan - shooting pool sounds like so much fun. I used to play the squashing ball game ... but now that's it - the two legs are for walking ... reading and gardening if I get a chance or using my fingers to write. I'd happily do more cooking though - Loved the images! cheers Hilary

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    1. Hiya, Hilary. Shooting pool IS a lot of fun. It may not be a whole lot of exercise, but it's more exercise than sitting in front of the television. :)

      Cheers back atcha.

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