On Losing Wilko

A few short days ago on June 13th, I lost my best friend unexpectedly. 

Wilko wasn’t a human, but my 13-year-old mini dachshund, who, up until the night of June 11th, had been bright-eyed and full of life and energy. He grew lethargic and ill and was vomiting. A visit to his vet on June 12th resulted in his receiving subcutaneous fluids, anti-vomiting medication, and a bland diet. 

By the next morning, Wilko wasn’t eating or drinking and was very weak. My roommate took him to the local animal hospital where things grew worse and they tried to conduct an ultrasound, but in preparation, lost his tiny heartbeat. 

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On Losing a Piece of My Writing Self

Back in January 2010, my life as a writer took a step in a much more serious direction when I started my first day of graduate school. I had applied and been accepted into the Master of Arts in English program at Mount Mary University (known as Mount Mary College then) and was ready to get my then-current WIP into better shape. By the end of that first semester, I had grown by leaps and bounds and I knew I was where I needed to be. Beyond that semester, I only continued to grow as a writer and as a person. In December 2011, I graduated with one completed novel manuscript and half of a second, multiple short stories, and had been persuaded to apply to one of the top low-residency MFA programs in the country for creative writing (to which I would later be accepted). 

I could write volumes about how this specific program changed my life as a writer, how it influenced my writing, and how it helped me develop into the writer I am. My professors, advisors, and peers at MMU have meant so much to me in the years since I left the program and I’m so thankful for the time I spent with all of them. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without their friendship and guidance.

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On Bullet Journals & Organization

Over the years — from high school on, really — I’ve always tried to keep myself organized. The key word there is tried. Whether the need for organization sprouted from the fact that I had a million things going or because of my slight OCD, I’m not sure, but inevitably, my attempts at keeping myself organized would fail.

I bought calendars and planners and even just used lists in various forms, and I did things this way for years. Some of these methods would stick for a month or two at best, while others were basically DOA. I’d waffle between lists and planners and — once smartphones arrived — trying keep everything crammed into the woefully inadequate calendar on whatever phone I was using at the time. Nothing worked like I imagined it would. I wrote day or times down incorrectly or would forget to write anything down at all. Each time I’d try a method for the second, third or fifth time, I’d always end up right back at square one.

Enter the Bullet Journal.

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On Having Little Motivation

I used to be a proponent of the “write every day no matter what” ideology. I’ve discussed it more than a few times in other posts here. The gist?

“Write every day, even if it’s only a few sentences! Sit down and make yourself write, even if it’s only for ten minutes!”

Writing is an individual pursuit much of the time. Nearly all the time, in fact. As such, you need to be able to tailor your routine to, well, you. Life does and will get in the way of writing. Day jobs, family obligations, social activities and any number of other things demand attention, and it’s impossible to ignore all of those things to write.

Here’s the thing about that: It’s okay.

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