Nov 012017

What is NaNoWriMo? Is it a new erectile dysfunction drug? A political party? A space alien? Actually, it’s a shorter way to say National Novel Writing Month — a crazy, fun event that runs through the month of November.

The free, internet-based writing challenge began in 1999, with fewer than two dozen participants. The idea is to write 50,000 works (aka a lousy first draft) between midnight November 1st and 11:59 on the 30th. For most of us, it’s a pretty good stretch.

Is NaNoWriMo a new erectile dysfunction drug? Click To Tweet

I’ve been writing non-fiction for most of my life, only recently transitioning from corporate and copywriting assignments to books. Shortly after moving to a mountaintop in northern New Hampshire to be with the love of my life, he handed me a newspaper article about the thing. I’m not sure I’d have found it on my own. Always one to “try stuff,” taking advantage of our relative isolation made sense to me. I had no idea what I was getting into but, after winning the first year I was hooked. With the exception of the year we moved twice between October 1st and December 1st, I’ve done it every year since. (If you’re not familiar with NaNo, please don’t get too excited about the “winning” thing. It simply means that along with about a kazillion other people, I completed my 50,000 words!)


Is novel writing good for non-fiction authors? Click To Tweet

So why is NaNoWriMo a good idea for a non-fiction author? It might not be for everyone but for me, it works like this. It:

  • helps me ignore the fact we’re setting the clocks back next week.
  • loosens me up. It’s hard to “write tight” when you’re going for quantity.
  • re-connects my family with the fact that I sometimes disappear into writing and editing.
  • makes me more creative. Trust me, I’ve got to make up some stuff in a hurry if I’m going to hit my daily word count.
  • gives me permission to fail… not on a quantity level but it is one time that I can try to care a little bit less about the quality of what’s coming off the tips of my fingers.
  • creates a draft that I might — someday — develop. The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head may or may not have had some roots in NaNoWriMo and the endless discussions about that wicked Inner Editor!

Today is Day 1. Click To Tweet

If you’ve considered trying NaNoWriMo it’s not too late — today is Day 1. Head to their site, sign up, and get writing. And, once you’ve started, if you’re looking for writing buddies, let me know!

 November 1, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Thinking, Writing and Reading 7 Responses »
Oct 252017

Sometimes I take blogging breaks. It could be due to project deadlines or feeling that I don’t have much to say. Or that life has intervened in a most inconvenient manner. Sometimes, it’s because I feel as if I have too much to say. Maybe I should do a bumper sticker: I brake for joy.

These past few weeks may be a combination of all of the above. They must have stretched to hold all that has taken place. My son’s wedding to a wonderful woman, a trip to the northeast, a hurricane complete with evacuation and clean-up, the opportunity to get to get better acquainted with some friends, a special indie authors event, progress on a project with some author friends, a return to dog training, a road trip with my love…. and I’ve likely missed something.

And what I remember most are the overwhelming feelings of gratitude and joy. Here are some special moments… and some thoughts from others.


The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. ~Victor Hugo

The newly minted Mr. and Mrs.


Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. — Robert Louis Stevenson

It may sound silly, but the restoration of our classic post office warms my heart.


If you are confident something brings you joy, keep it. Click To Tweet

If you are confident that something brings you joy, keep it, regardless of what anyone else might say. Even if it isn’t perfect, no matter how mundane it might be when you use it with care and respect, you transform it into something priceless. —  Marie Kondo, Spark Joy

Our road trips are always full of surprises — small towns, unusual architecture, interesting people, political signs, spectacular views, and graffiti.

Our road trips are full of surprises. Click To Tweet


We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy. — Joseph Campbell

My indie author friends and I were grateful to have sustained minimal impact from Hurricane Irma. We attempted an Indie Author’s Day event to provide some support to schools around the state.


Sorrow prepares you for joy. Click To Tweet

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. — Rumi

Two of these women are longtime friends from my days as a child protection consultant. (I don’t believe I’ve met the other two.) This photo is from their fundraiser for the child advocacy center that started as an idea for an interview room when we worked together. It seems like yesterday. And a hundred years ago.


Joy that isn’t shared dies young Click To Tweet

Joy that isn’t shared dies young. — Anne Sexton

I hope you use the comments to share about something that has recently brought you joy.





 October 25, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Thinking 12 Responses »
Sep 272017

A childhood highlight was getting — and using — a library card. It was the same for my mother. She tells about choosing her books and facing a librarian who would not let her check them out because she was “too young.” I would love to have been a fly on the wall the next day when my five-foot-nothing grandma marched into the library to share her opinion about banned books, and to inform the staff that her daughter was permitted to read anything she chose.

It's Banned Books Week, but that sort of thing is behind us, right? Click To Tweet

It’s Banned Books Week, and I’d like to think that censorship, book burning, and banned book are far behind us. But, as I write this, social media is alive with an intense first amendment debate, and I don’t have to look too far in the rearview mirror to remember a several-hundred-acre wildfire started by someone burning books. And, as I began to research banned books? The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a recent favorite I found on the list.

Banned Books week is sponsored by the American Library Association and, according to Newsweek, is “both a celebration of freedom and a warning against censorship.” I was also surprised to learn that Banned Books week is only about 35 years old and began in response to a sharp increase in challenges to books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. A significant increase — in 1982. Publishing powerhouse J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a frequent target of censors as is, apparently, almost anything by Stephen King. And, evidently, the entire Captain Underpants series and Fifty Shades of Grey (which sold over 100 million copies) present a clear and present danger to the Republic. (Dammit, where is that sarcasm font when you need it?)

And lest you think the upsurge in attempted censorship is somehow related to looser modern standards and morals, take a look at some of the classics on the list: Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Jungle.

I was raised to believe that reading was a way to open doors to new ideas and different points of view. I was taught that part of the value of those things was an increased ability to understand and empathize with those with whom I have significant differences; that such skills were useful in maintaining and enhancing peaceful relationships.

Which books present a clear and present danger to the Republic? Click To Tweet

So isn’t it logical that suppression of offensive ideas could bring them to back, stronger than ever? Or, perhaps if an individual finds a certain book offensive she could choose not to read or recommend it. Aren’t those decisions adults can make for themselves and for the children in their lives?

What do you think about banned books? Do you have a favorite? Please use the ‘comments’ to share.
















 September 27, 2017  Posted by  Thinking, Writing and Reading 12 Responses »
Sep 202017

Good morning. Although our family weathered #Irma unscathed, many of us are using it as sort of a reset: looking for ways to help others, making sure we’re prepared for the next one, and sorting through our personal reactions and lessons. We are heartbroken about the tragedies taking place in Puerto Rico and Mexico right now and would send “thoughts and prayers” if we weren’t so sick of politicians saying those words while doing nothing meaningful to help. Photo ops detract from rescue efforts.

The other thing many of us are trying to sort out: why is everyone feeling so fuzzy-headed? 100% of local friends and neighbors report feeling off-balance and a bit mentally slow — so I put together a few quotations that may or may not be relevant. I hope you enjoy them.

There are some things you learn best in calm, some in storm. – Willa Cather

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. – M. C. Escher

We adore chaos because we love to produce order. Port in a Storm Click To Tweet

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.   Vincent van Gogh

It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the storm & defy it.   Amelia Barr

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. –  Carl Jung

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order. Click To Tweet

Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes. – Ludwig van Beethoven

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.   Melody Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Click To Tweet

Are you weathering some kind of storm? What brings you hope and comfort? I look forward to your comments.








 September 20, 2017  Posted by  Happiness, Special Topics, Thinking 8 Responses »
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