Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 • No Comments on October: the month in review
Autumn in Virginia
With the exception of a couple of minor hiccups–most notably, getting water inside my laptop bag and thinking my MacBook Pro was a goner–October 2015 will go down in history as one of the best, happiest months of my life. (The Mac is actually performing just fine as I type, but there is a MacBook Air on order, just in case.) The biggest, happiest event of this month was celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary. Silver! It’s been a hell of a wonderful, mostly smooth-sailing, ride and I am so grateful for the amazing, kind, handsome, brilliant man I chose as my partner through this wild, beautiful life.
So in love… still.
I traveled the backroads of Virginia in October, discovering that I really do love this state I’ve called home for fifteen years. So much so, I’m having a hard time thinking about leaving it! Time will tell where the Wrights will settle, but the trips were inspirational, life changing and love affirming in different ways.
The James River Writers Conference was held in Richmond October 16-18, and it was simply one of the best writers’ conferences I’ve ever attended. Don’t be fooled by small(ish) regional conferences, they are the where you find your people. I met some friends I’ve known for years online, I made some new friends, I talked about everything from editing erotica to creating believable characters to content marketing. I am delighted I was invited to attend. It was a terrific weekend!
Me with my erotica writing co-panelist, the multi-talented Alexis Anne, and our fantastic moderator, MM Finck
I was home for 4 days before packing up and heading to The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, a beautiful and historic resort that is part of the Omni hotel chain.
The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia
I’ve always been pleased with the eclectic diversity of the Omni properties because no two are alike and I really love that. The Homestead is amazing– a resort that offers everything from hayrides and falconry to miniature golf and childcare. As this was our family anniversary trip, we enjoyed family time as well as couple’s time, thanks to the Kids Club. The boys had so much fun the first day, they wanted to go back the next day! So Jay and I got to enjoy some quiet time (and an amazing breakfast buffet in the elegant main dining room) while the kids enjoyed their “independence.” It really was a wonderful family trip.
The boys and a horse named George
October was such a busy month, I didn’t get to see as many movies or read as many books as I would’ve liked. In fact, the only movie I did see was Hotel Transylvania 2 with the boys. As cute as the first one, I thought, and a great way to kick off the month. I plan to be home through the holidays, which means the usual cooking and baking, plus I want to catch up on my reading and see a few good movies. The new James Bond flick is definitely on my list!
This month for Mom.me I wrote about Mommy Trolls, having kids with a big age difference, the things that no longer matter now that I’m a mom and the woes of being a field trip chaperone. I’m happy to be writing for a terrific parenting website that allows me so much freedom to explore my interests. It’s particularly rewarding to see my pieces shared because I know it means I’m connecting with people.
This has been such a wild, whirlwind year of writing (mostly) nonfiction and exploring my interests and challenging myself to break into new markets. I had two bylines this month that meant a lot to me. I wrote my second piece for Narratively on a topic I’ve never tackled before, at least not as nonfiction. Check-In Time At the Most Haunted Hotel in America is about the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. I got a chance to visit the hotel in August and the experience stayed with me. In fact, I pitched this piece while I was at the airport on my way back home. I’m happy with the way it turned out and the staff at Narratively did a beautiful job pairing my piece with some amazing atmospheric photographs. (And the ghost photos toward the end were courtesy of a woman I found through a Facebook search– you just never know who’s reading your public posts!)
As for new markets, I am overwhelmed with the response I’ve received to my first piece for Role Reboot. What It Means to Be the Fat Girl was a very personal piece to write– one I wasn’t sure I’d find a home for– and it’s been gratifying seeing that it is the most read piece on the site. I have a lot of writing goals for 2016 (yes, already) and one of them is to be a regular contributor at Role Reboot and write more essays and articles that address the experiences of so many women– many who feel as if their voices aren’t represented by mainstream media.
With less than two months left in 2015, I’m considering my accomplishments and measuring my failures and shortfalls. I haven’t written as much as I would have liked this year, although I think I have several valid excuses–from traveling to nearly dying to not having regular childcare. There are times when I have to take a deep breath and let it go– there simply isn’t enough time right now to write everything I want to write. On the other hand, I know there has been wasted time in my schedule this year, times when I should have been writing and, for whatever reason, didn’t. But overall I’m pleased with the direction 2015 has taken and I’m ready to start planning 2016.
It’s nesting season for me– and my favorite time of the year– which means enjoying family and friends, filling the house with love and laughter and contemplating the future. Wishing you all a very joyful November!
Here’s to a beautiful fall!
Friday, October 2nd, 2015 • No Comments on September, a month in review
I’m tired of the rain…
And so, it’s October 2nd and Hurricane Joaquin is making his way up the east coast and here in Virginia we haven’t seen the sun in a week and I’m wearing my awesome rain boots and drinking coffee. Ah, fall! I could do without the rain, but I am ready for October!
September flashed by quicker than any month so far this year, though I couldn’t tell you why. We celebrated our youngest’s birthday and school is in full swing, for both kids and spouse, which means I’ve already had my first cold of the new school year. (Boo!) I have a regular work schedule again (yay!) and the weeks fly by as I balance school schedules, writing schedules and all the rest of life.
Speaking of writing, this month I wrote several pieces for Mom.me on topics ranging from miscarriage to Minecraft and I had my second byline at Cosmopolitan with a piece on how my husband and I text more than we talk. I’m still waiting to hear about a couple of end-of-month pitches and I’m working on my October Mom.me posts, including today’s funny piece on being a field trip chaperone.
I read a few books this month, all of which I reviewed at GoodReads. I’m trying to get better about posting reviews of all the books I read– I appreciate it as an author and know how important it is, but it also helps me keep track of what I’ve read. This month’s books included Hush by Kate White, Dare Me by Megan Abbott, Hold Me Close by Megan Hart and You by Caroline Kepnes. I’m reading a lot of thrillers these days, and I suppose that’s because I want to write one. There is a plot brewing (stewing?) and while I haven’t committed to NaNoWriMo 2015 yet, there’s a good chance I’ll dive in with this book I’m wanting to write.
September was a month for having friends over for dinner, visiting the park and farmers market and rediscovering the joys of crockpot meals. There is nothing better than a slow cooked pot roast with farmers market red potatoes and carrots! It’s nesting season, a time for snuggling and cooking and contemplation. Oh, I also saw a couple of movies– what Jay has taken to referring to as “old man” movies– A Walk in the Woods with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte and The Intern with Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway.
As October kicks off with this rainy weather and cooler temperatures, I’m looking forward to my 25th wedding anniversary next week, a fantastic fall writers conference, an anniversary trip to see the fall foliage of western Virginia and, of course, Halloween! It will be a month of wonderful memories and (hopefully) delicious surprises. Enjoy all October has to offer!
Thursday, September 10th, 2015 • No Comments on August, the month in review
On the beach at Isle of Palms, SC
Okay, so it’s September 10th and I’m finally getting around to talking about August. It was busy. I have a hard time remembering everything that happened, so I have to pull out my date book and my various to do lists and sales trackers to break it all down. So… August.
I traveled for nearly half the month, spending almost a week in Charleston, SC with the family. I came home for the weekend, did my laundry, packed again and got on a plane for San Antonio. (I wrote a little about that in my July update.) The Charleston trip was part vacation, part house hunting expedition. Yes, we are considering moving back to South Carolina (we lived there from 1993-2000), but it’ll be next year before that can happen. There is still a lot up details up in the air, far more logistics than I’d like to consider, but that seems to be the way we’re headed. I’ll be writing more about it in the coming months, I’m sure, but for now it’s kind of a goal in the distance, with a lot to accomplish between now and then.
The San Antonio trip was a last minute thing– I got to tag along with a friend on her work trip and turn it into a writing retreat of my own. I saw a little bit of San Antonio, including its famous Riverwalk and The Alamo, as well as the notoriously haunted Menger Hotel. I’m planning to write something about the Menger, and work San Antonio into a couple of future pieces. While I was there, I wrote a bunch of new essays (most of which have found homes), pitched a few ideas and reworked a few old essays and sent them them back into the world. It was a productive trip, though I like a little more vacation with my work. Maybe next time.
The rest of the month was spent getting the boys ready for school (older kid started kindergarten, younger kid started pre-K). They’re in a Montessori school, so they started school at the end of August rather than after Labor Day. So at this point they’ve been in school for two weeks. It’s been adjustment, especially for my little guy, but we’re getting there! And speaking of the little one– we celebrated his 4th birthday the last weekend in August. I know the cliche is that time flies, but for the most part it doesn’t seem that way. I’ve been here with them almost full-time since they were born, working only part-time (and when they were very little, at least half of my work time was their nap time), and full-time for the past year. I’m grateful for that time, especially now that my oldest is in school hours than I used to work.
Some days with young kids can seem endless, but most of the time I’m very aware of how fleeting it all is. I think my time with them while they’ve been young has been worthwhile for all of us, especially since they’ve gotten nearly four years of being inseparable. And for me, I feel as if I know them better than anyone, having seen their moods and their developments change and mature. There is something to be said for being a stay-at-home mom, and I’m happy to say I recognized it in the moment and not just in hindsight. Of course, I’m still a stay-at-home mom and my work schedule is built around the 3 days they’re both in school (my little one goes 3 days a week for now), so I’ll be always be here. I hope that gives them confidence to do their own thing and feel secure in knowing I’m right here.
And while I’m right here packing lunches, baking cookies and going back and forth to school (and hanging out with the 4 year old on the two days he’s not in school), I’ve been writing. I have something of a writing schedule again, so I’m not keeping track of my hours, but it varies from week to week from “almost enough” to “not even close to enough,” and that’s okay. I’ve found a way to write fairly regularly and although my to do list is far longer than the hours I get each week, I have enough time to sustain my creativity most weeks. Yay for that!
August bylines included several posts at Mom.me, including one of my favorite pieces about how we gave our oldest son two middle names, one of them being the dog’s name. We lost Henry in 2011 and I still miss him all the time.
I also had some first-time bylines in Cosmopolitan (After a Childhood Spent on Diets, I’m Finally Done) and Country Living (8 Things Not to Say to a Military Wife), as well as another piece in Good Housekeeping (Being a Mom Doesn’t Define Me). Finally, I did something new– an interview piece (with kids!), sponsored by Airbnb for Huffington Post (We Asked These Adorable Toddlers if People Are Good).
Rolling into September, I have filed a couple of my Mom.me posts, tackled another sponsored interview for Huffington Post and I’m working on some fresh pitches. Autumn is my favorite season and I’m anticipating it being very productive!
It wasn’t all work and no play in August. I saw a few movies (Minions with the boys, which was cute, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.– Henry Cavill, mmmm!) and read one of my favorite books of this–or any– year: Megan Abbott‘s The Fever. Brilliantly written. It was the first book I’ve read by her and now I want to read everything she’s ever written. It’s that good!
I think that wraps up August. This summer has been a bit of a blur of fun times, emotional moments and a sense of being in constant motion, emotionally and physically. Always growing, always changing.
Here’s to a beautiful fall season!