On using the clutch….

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I’m trying to get better about writing consistently. I really am! Frankly, I’m not doing nearly as well with it as I could. I find myself exhausted pretty regularly (don’t we all) and I’d often rather watch an inappropriate television program in silence while my daughter naps. It’s the worst excuse in the world.

So here I go, starting another mission to write every day. I’m using a fellow blogger’s suggestions and hoping it keeps me on task.

Day 1 – My Blog’s Name.

When I first started blogging (probably ten years ago now), I knew that naming my blog was going to be one of the most important things I’d do with it. Naming it and focusing it. Those are the most important factors, if you ask me.

Naming it was easy (focusing, not so much, as you can probably tell). It’s a phrase my dad has been saying to my mom and me for as long as I can remember. She and I have a bizarre ability to transition between conversation topics without warning or explanation. You know how sometimes you’ll be in the middle of talking with someone and, in your head, you’ve said five things, but it’s the sixth thing that actually gets verbalized? And no one has a damn clue what you’re talking about now, but it makes perfect sense to you? Yeah, that’s what my mom and I do. But we can follow each other and know exactly how we go from Point A to Point Square.

Often, these conversations happen while my dad is around. And try as he might, he just cannot keep up. He’s the smartest human alive, I’m sure of it, but following our conversations is just not a skill in his wheelhouse (and when my sister is also involved in our conversations? Fuggedaboutit. He just leaves the room). So one day, a million years ago, he got frustrated enough and just yelled, “Will you two please just use the clutch?!”

So there you have it.

That’s how Use The Clutch was born.
And now it’s part of my “brand”, if you will.
It’s my blog, my editing service, and my wedding/event planning service.
It’s perfectly “me” which is maybe the best part of it all.

On what I want to be….

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There are a lot of things that I’ve been known to want to “be” in my nearly-35 years.

In grade 6, I wanted to be a pediatric endocrinologist. I literally have no idea what that is, but I was certain I wanted to be one. I think it’s a doctor for children. No clue. Probably a good sign that I should never have wanted to be that.

By grade 11, I was certain that I wanted to be a prosecuting attorney. I wanted to put away the bad guys! I loved learning about how the law works and it was probably around this time I started watching Law & Order. And if anything was going to push me into something law related, it was going to be that show. My best friend and I consistently “dressed the part” (or what we thought that was, anyway) nearly every day at school. If we weren’t in our cheerleading uniforms, we were wearing pant suits. 1997 was a weird fashion year for me. For most of us, honestly.

Then in grade 12, I had to write a novel for my AP English class and I discovered I wanted to be in the CIA. I big time wanted to be a spy. My same friend from grade 11 had the same idea as I did. We’d recently seen the first Mission: Impossible and, well, we were going to be spies. And it was going to be awesome! I’m not sure about her, but by that time, I was already in love with travel and language, so it seemed I was on the right track.

Then I went to college and everything sort of went haywire (as if it hadn’t seemed that way already). I wanted to be a wedding/event planner, a sociologist, a social worker (another Law & Order-fueled idea…what is my deal?!), something to do with hospitality, and then finally…a writer.

Eleven years, five colleges/universities, and five major changes later, I ended up with a degree in writing and editing.

Hilariously, I found myself back where I started. If only I’d have known about this when I started…I’d have saved myself a hell of a lot of time, effort, and – maybe most importantly – money (which is the portion of this tale that makes me the most angry at Congress. I digress).

So someday, I think I would like to be able to call myself a professional writer. It would be pretty awesome. “What do you do?” “Oh, I’m a writer.” And then for fun, I’d like to be able to add “…for Vanity Fair” or “…for Huffington Post” or “…for the President” but I’ll take what I can. And for now, that’s just me spewing my thoughts at a laptop, hoping someone will read it and maybe find it interesting.

“I coulda been a contendah!”

On embracing new challenges….

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It’s National Blog Posting Month. I’d never even heard of this until I was scrolling through my Facebook feed at 5:30 this morning. I seem to find the most random information that early in the morning. Which begs the question: What interesting information will I come across during midnight baby feedings?

At any rate, November is my last full month of not being a mommy so I want to take as much advantage of that as I can. I need to read more. I need to write more. I need to eat out more. All the things that will surely go on back burners, at least for a while, once this girl makes her appearance.

So today, I’m binge-watching Gilmore Girls (though there is one character that has gotten increasingly more annoying and his comedic value is lacking, especially when the smart, witty banter provides so much humor. He’s an unnecessary character, at best). I’m going reading Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (which will likely make me want to re-read Bossypants and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?). I’m currently drinking pumpkin spiced hot chocolate (this simultaneously makes me long for the day when I’ll be able to have full blown coffee again and also grateful for the quiet I’m currently enjoying). I’m making two soups (mostly because I can, but also because I need to stock my freezer in preparation for the new little munchkin and her surely demanding schedule).

But I think what might be the most important thing for me to remember during this month of writing is that I am a multi-faceted person. We all are. I am not “just” a wife or mother or writer or baker or singer or runner or reader or friend or any number of things. I am all of those things, all at the same time. Doing one of these things does not negate the fact that I am all these other things as well. I don’t stop being a writer while I’m running. I don’t stop being a wife when I’m baking. I don’t stop being a friend when I’m a mother.

Certainly there are facets of my life that will take up more time than others. Motherhood will easily take over for some time. As with learning any new skill, it will take time and practice. I’ll have to sacrifice some of my facets in order to learn how to do this one. The reality is that I can do all of the things I love doing…just not all at once.

So this month, I choose to focus on being a writer and a reader.

Happy NaBloPoMo,y’all!

On finding (what to do with) the time….

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I was recently told that writing is a matter of one sentence at a time. So this is my attempt at that.

I wake up every morning, motivated to do something remarkable with my day. And then…nothing. I hang out with my dogs and read the news. I text with my two girl friends who are due to have babies the same time as me. Sometimes I bake. But mostly? I just have nothing to show for my day. Lately, that’s been a little upsetting to me.

The sermon at my church on Sunday frustrated me. In a good way. Talking about how so many of us are “too busy” for the things that are really important. I definitely used to be that person. My days were filled with activities and obligations and appointments. I always had somewhere to be and something to do. There was very little down time. I hardly even took time out for just me.

Now? I honestly think I have too much free time. I miss working, but with a baby due in just four months (holy crap!), there’s not really any logic in trying to find a job right now. I think what I really miss, beyond the relationships one develops in an office setting, is the feeling of being contributory. I miss being a part of a team. Recently, I joined the Navy Ball Planning Committee for our base’s birthday bash. That’s been a lot of fun for me…despite being the only civilian on the team. But it’s something I’m good at. I love planning and executing events. And, frankly, I happen to be very good at it. The team lead gave me an official title…”Flow Coordinator.” My favorite part of any event is the day-of execution. It’s where I excel. A lot of that has to do with working really well under pressure, with deadlines, and with stressful situations (ask me about the time I coordinated a wedding where the groom was deathly ill and in the hospital until well over an hour after the ceremony was to start). Anyway, I’m really excited to be  a part of this team. It’s giving me good exposure to how things work in the military (I’m learning terms and phrases I never thought I’d know or care about) and this event alone will be one hell of an addition to my resume.

But what happens after the party? Where will I turn my focus after it’s all over?

Yeah, yeah, yeah…I’ll have a baby by the end of the year and I know that will take an extraordinary amount of my time. Still though…I want to keep contributing. And I want to make money doing it. So the goal would be to make money from writing. I’m not sure how that will happen. I’ve never been very good at hunting down things to write about or organizations/publications to write for. I probably need to hone my searching skills…dig out my Carmen San Diego costume and start sleuthing for opportunities.

Until then, I (try to) keep writing…one sentence at a time.