Jan 17 2017

How I Write When I’m at Home


Most of my writing takes place in my home office. I’ve talked about that. I commandeered the guest room and surrounded myself with ample desk space, storage space, ego wall space, and a comfy chair.

This is there the magic happens.

This is where the #eveningcups are consumed.

This is where I write.

I don’t have to have my own office to write. But it helps.

It would be a little different if writing were my only job. Alas, it is not. I have the day job, the acting job, the design jobs (when I can get them), and the winning the Publisher’s Clearing House job.

Okay, in all seriousness, I don’t spend a lot of time on that last one.

The dream of course is that one day I’ll be able to jump (relatively speaking) out of bed and come straight to work in this office.

And by straight to work I mean after taking the dogs out and pouring the first of many morning cups of coffee.

For now, I have to carve out time to write, so this is how I do it. Most of the time.

Remove the distractions – That means turn off Facebook and stop watching the email notifications. That often means putting the phone and the iPad out of sight because of those pesky notifications that pop up. Sometimes it means closing the door to keep the animals out. And no, I can’t binge-watch Netflix and get any serious writing done.

Set the mood – Usually there’s music playing. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the right Pandora station. The morning I wrote this for example I was going to tune to something else but Patsy was singing. (If you don’t know who Patsy is, shame on you). I did switch later before I actually started writing. Generally, music without lyrics works best as background music. For me anyway. I think Stephen King cranks up the rock. That would never work for me. I have found that Mozart works better than Mendelssohn. I have also found that when I choose the Gaither Homecoming station my computer screen has a tendency to get blurry. Don’t judge.

Set the atmosphere – Along with the music there’s occasionally a scented candle burning. We have animals. Don’t judge. In reality it’s probably more that I’m a child of the 70s than any fragrance need. Again, don’t judge.

Appropriate beverage – in the morning coffee, or sometimes tea. During the day, it’s water. Sparkling water when the grocery budget allows and when the grocery list remembers. In the evenings, it’s either my traditional #eveningcup of something red, more water, or hot tea. It just depends. I rarely drink anything else. For the most part I’ve given up soda and iced tea. There are rare occasions that I will make exceptions. And, I love my orange juice, but it’s like a glass of sugar.

The comfy chair – I am blessed to have a sturdy desk chair that once belonged to my father-in-law. It’s quality furniture. Just ask the cat who spends way too much time in it as my darker clothing will attest. I still have hopes of one day acquiring a comfy wingback chair for reading. For now, I just move to the other side of the desk.

My office also has other things that help, but aren’t required, for writing. My walls are filled with framed copies of Playbills from shows, pictures I love, awards I’ve won (there are a few) and other favorite pieces. I also have two shelves of houseplants that live outside during the summer and that I try to keep alive during the winter months. One of these days I’ll get the amaryllis to bloom in time for Christmas.

After all of these things are in place, then I sit down at the keyboard. The reality is that none of these are required. They just tend to help me on the way to bringing your daily dose of brilliance.

I follow a few professional writers who have their own writing retreat, like a garden shed transferred into an office, or something overlooking a lake, or a private attic retreat. All of that is cool, and I suppose with my home office I have something pretty close.

The “experts” will give you a list of things you have to have to be a successful writer. All you really need is a computer, a typewriter, or a pencil and paper to be a writer.

Well, that and the time to do it, which you have to make. That’s another post.

Most of all you need the desire to write.

Because, if you have that, then you’ll find a way to make it happen.

Two weeks into 2017, that’s what I’m doing.


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Jan 16 2017

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day


We are not makers of history. We are made by history.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today is the national holiday signed into law by President Ronald Reagan (yes, Ronald Reagan), to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a Baptist minister and activist. As a leader in the Civil Rights movement, he was known for his advancement of civil rights by the means of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Non. Violent.

Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 in a year that was anything but nonviolent.

It was the year that North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive against the United States and South Vietnam, a wake-up call for Americans that began the withdrawal of support for the war.

It was the year Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was on his way to the Democratic nomination but was gunned down in a hotel in California, just a month after the assassination of Dr. King.

It was the year that the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Scorpion sank killing all 99 men aboard.

It was the year that seventy-eight men were killed in the Farmington Mine Disaster in West Virginia.

It was a year of history that in many ways defined this country. It was a year of history that we need to remember.

In the same way, 2016 was a year of history that we need to remember. Sure, on social media the last week of the year we were all talking about how we wanted to see 2016 end.

Still, there were good things that happened in 2016, and there were good things that happened in 1968.

History isn’t all good or all bad, and that’s the way we should learn about it.

There are those who would erase the stories of the past and all the remembrances.

Dr. King would have had a lot to say about how things were in 2016. I won’t speculate on what he might have thought of the way things are. You shouldn’t either.

But we should remember his history and remember that he taught that love and respect are the better way.

Dr. King also said:

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Wise words.


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