Wkly Brief – Gratitude Grappling Hooks

NHLHofF2Fifteen Minutes, I said to my husband. We’re at the dinner table, and I’m pushing my food around in circles. I’ll write for fifteen minutes.

He says, It’ll be easier tonight. I won’t be home to distract you.  He scoops some orange macaroni and cheese onto my plate, and I take a bite. It’s a small bite, but it’s a start.

I wonder, how did this happen? How did I go from writing hundreds and thousands of words, to this dry well. I have nothing for my blog; nothing for my novel; nary a word for a poem or short story. How is it that I can attend a creative day such as Writers’ Day, followed by the first ever NH Literary Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, and return home to a month of nothing?  Even the Hall of Fame cake — especially the cake — was more creative than I have been this past month.

NH Literary Hall of Fame Cake created by talented Southern NH University student.

NH Literary Hall of Fame Cake created by a talented Southern NH University student.

I’m embarrassed to admit, I received criticism at Writers Day, and I froze.

I wanted to blame  my lack of writing on spring fever, but the snow is barely gone and it hasn’t broken 55 degrees yet.  I considered claiming busyness, but I’m no more busy than usual.  I wasn’t ill, overworked, tired.  There were no births, weddings, or God forbid, funerals.

The good news is that the criticism came from a reliable source, was accurate, and was given gently.  I took these unwanted gifts, and turned them over and over until I could see their worth.  Then I signed up for several classes, focusing on the writing techniques that I needed to learn. Now, with new tools in hand, I’m ready to write again.

Several of the steps I’ve taken to get myself moving again include:

  1. I signed up for two all-day workshops at GrubStreet in Boston. Not only did I get excellent training, but I got to enjoy the train ride, hike around Boston Commons, and hang out with my nephew and his fiancee.
  2. I checked out MFA programs, and am weeks away from signing up for my first class.
  3. I’m taking an on-line class in May and June.
  4. My Thank You book has been dusted off and reopened. When I first started writing regularly, I’d get up at five AM, write until seven, and then regardless of how much or how little I wrote, I’d add a note in my Thank You book.  Entries such as:  “8/5    720 [words]    Thank you for a productive morning.” Or “9/1   667   Thank you Lord” filled the pages for three months.  It’s time to do that again.
  5. When my alarm rings, I remind myself: “Every morning you pick between two choices. Continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them”.1
  6. I take the time to read encouraging words shared by generous writers.  One of my favorite sites is Writers In The Storm, which recently shared guidance on getting and receiving feedback.
  7. I’m enjoying the beginnings of spring: the birds, flowers, and mud.

My fifteen minutes of writing has turned into sixty minutes.  I have clawed my way back to writing with gratitude grappling hooks.  Tonight I scrawl in my book:

4/29/2015 574 words:  Thank you Andre Dubus III for Townie’s Thank You tip.

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1) If anybody knows the source of this quote, please leave a comment and I’ll update my blog.  I’ve been searching, but all I see is “anonymous”.

About Barbara Rath

Enjoy reading, writing, hiking, hangin' with family, friends and my dogs, watching soccer (Go Breakers), baseball, football. Favorite foods are coffee, chocolate, and artichokes. Always thinking of new stuff to do and then not doing it.
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6 Responses to Wkly Brief – Gratitude Grappling Hooks

  1. Traci York says:

    Wow, searching for the author of that quote hurt my brain!

    I found this –


    It categorizes, “When we wake up in the morning, we have two simple choices: go back to sleep and dream, or wake up and chase those dreams.” as a Ritu Ghatourey quote, but I can’t find anything to substantiate it (or her, for that matter, beyond the fact she’s an inspirational Indian author).

    There is also this –


    Between sharing his favorite quotes about dreams, blog author Cris Nikolov says, “When you wake up in the morning you have two choices… go back to sleep and dream your dreams or wake up & chase those dreams. Your choice.”

    Then there is the short and sweet version – “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Paul Valery

    In any case, kudos to you for putting pen to paper again! It was great chatting with you the other night, and I look forward to our next meeting. ~Traci

    • Barbara Rath says:

      Thanks so much for the leads Traci! I’m going to look into the leads about Ritu Ghatourey and Paul Valery. I found my version on Twitter. See you next month!

  2. Pam kelly says:

    Picking up the pen must be even harder than picking up the phone, and I know how impossible that can be! I am rejoicing in your forward movement. S’marvelous!

  3. Joan Whitesell says:

    Good one!  Glad you are writing again.  Love,  Joan 

    Sent from Samsung tablet

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