Lots of Changes, Old Max, Lots of Changes…

IMG_0461That pretty much sums up my life for the last four months, and bonus points to the person who can tell me which movie that line comes from.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Let me tell you why. In July we welcomed a new baby girl into our family. Three weeks later we moved. Yep, three weeks. Oh, and the week before we moved we were sorting and preparing for a moving sale. We tried to sell everything we didn’t need, including most of our furniture. It felt great to purge, and yet it seems as though still have too much stuff!! How is that possible?

The sale ran all day Friday and Saturday, thanks to my family without whom it would have never happened. We packed our moving van on Sunday, and pulled out of town on Monday morning. We moved from one town in Michigan to another about two and a half hours away. We’re living, temporarily, in my mother and father-in-law’s house (they work in New Mexico during the winter), while we search for our own piece of property where we plan to build our, hopefully, forever home. (I think we found the piece of property but we haven’t signed on the dotted line yet).

About three weeks after we moved my son started first grade at a new school and started soccer. I did not go back to work. When we moved I left a fantastic job, which I loved, as a pediatric speech therapist for an Intermediate School District. But I traded it for another job that I love, taking care of my baby.

My husband and I have been busy winterizing the house and trying to gather enough firewood to last us through a cold and snowy Michigan winter. Okay, mostly my husband. I’ve been busy unpacking, organizing, feeding a baby, changing diapers, and doing homework with my first grader…yes, homework…every night…in first grade.

It’s been somewhat crazy and mostly good.

What about writing?

Writing? What writing?

Sadly, there hasn’t been a great deal of writing. I have, however, done a lot of reading. I’ve burned through at least a dozen books, including my own which I loaded onto my kindle, finally. I kept telling myself that if a great idea came to me, I’d be inspired to write, right? Ha. I think one truth that I’ve learned several times now, but seem to keep conveniently forgetting, is that writing begets writing. When I write every day, ideas come. When I stop creating, the well of creativity dries up.

Since I am not leaving the house to work this year, my husband is urging me to self-publish. I’m considering this possibility and researching my options. It would be nice to be able to, possibly, contribute financially to my family. I’m also curious to see what would happen. I will, of course, keep you posted.

That’s my story. What changes have been happening in your life?

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16 Responses to Lots of Changes, Old Max, Lots of Changes…

  1. Sarah L Fox says:

    Glad to hear things have been good for the most part! Please do keep us posted on your publishing thoughts/decisions!

  2. Congrats on all of your wonderful changes – particularly that cutie pie! (She looks like a baby food ad, such a beauty!) And, yep, writing begets writing is so true, and it’s a lesson I need to repeatedly relearn. Please do keep us posted on the path to publication. Best of luck! Also, please do some writing. I miss your stories. And yours is a talent that should not languish in disuse!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you, Vaughn! It’s nice to hear that the stories have been missed. I miss writing them. I hope to be back at it soon. As you know though, I have quite an enticing distraction! She is adorable. :)

  3. ddfalvo says:

    I am so happy for you, you’re exactly where you should be with exactly who you should be with. Sending congratulations and much love to you for all the new changes in your life. I love that you’re going to have an opportunity to build a home; it’s an exciting thing to do, to personalize it just the way you want to. You are a beautiful soul, Nicole.

    I hear you about getting rid of things! I wish I had taken more care along the way to make that a regular practice, but we’ve done the same–donating, garage sales, etc. I’ve made it my mission to continually assess what I keep and give what I can to those who need it more.

    Please give yourself the rest you need and don’t worry about writing, you’ve been through so much, so many changes. You talent will wait for you, and all those books you’re reading are just fodder for the future. <3

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much, Denise. I have been enjoying my time, even as chaotic as it gets some days, and I’m excited about the future! I hope things are going well with your writing and move.

  4. Donna says:

    Yay, your posting again! I agree with all the other comments having been there and seen most of what’s been happening! Take the time you have now to rest, nurture those you love and dabble at the writing…life ebbs and flows with busyness and quieter times (although I’ve mostly experienced never ending busyness). I say take each day and enjoy, plan a little but be open to spontaneity. Love to you all.

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you! It does seem to keep getting busier as the years go by, but all in good ways. I do need to be more open to spontaneity…may it all end well. :)

  5. 1. Can you email Jordan your latest version of your book so we can load it onto our Kindle? I never read it the first time, and I know you’ve made a lot of changes since then. I am not a fast reader like you, or Ellie, or Jordan, but I might peruse during my infrequent baths. I also might know a few people who have done some self-publishing that you could talk to, and you might want to meet up with Emily Votruba, of The Elberta Alert and copy-editor for lots of pubs like Harper’s, GOLF Magazine, etc. because she may have advice for you, too? (Though I know you have lots of online friends who have loads of advice for you, too.)

    2. I agree about writing; even in journalism world. I’m currently struggling to finish a simple bio on the milk-delivery man for Edible Grande Traverse, which was actually due on Wednesday. Jordan is taking a look now, and I’m planning to submit the draft later today. But yeah, it takes awhile to get in the flow and mojo of it all. I get halfway through with something and can’t seem to finish it, to put in that last ounce of effort because I’ve lost my way halfway through it. HOW TO CLOSE? Always my issue. (And sometimes HOW TO START.) Body is easy, in my opinion. Luckily, I also posted a quick blog, based on my presentation for work so I had the notes already, on Monday, and that in itself was a milestone… I havent posted a simple blog post in awhile. I’m working slowly at getting better at this, as you know.

    3. You asked about recent changes: you know them all, but it’s nice to put them down on paper (or keyboard?) so I remember that I’ve come a long ways, even though the day-to-day seems like things aren’t changing much, so here goes… helped launch a local newspaper, took on a new role at work, started a side business (which has taken over the house, much to boyfriend’s dismay), and paid off the first of many student loans (the smallest one). Here’s to ending the season with some big changes for the Bates clan, and hoping to survive winter together with evermore changes that are sure to come!


    • Nicole says:

      1. Yes! I am in the process of editing and would really value your feedback. I think the novel still needs a few significant changes. I’m leaning toward my novella in the consideration of publication. I would love to talk to anyone with information about any and all routes to publishing. I still think you and I should join forces. :)
      2. I agree that opening and closing are the hardest. Once I’m into a story the content is no problem, just the smaller details of writing that I’m not as familiar with.
      3. All awesome accomplishments! Surviving the winter is probably top on my priority list. I just keep telling myself if we are truly freezing we can stay in town…right? :)

      Thanks for commenting! XO

  6. Jude says:

    Great to get an update from you Nicole!

    You’ve been doing some serious creating…the baby no less. Congratulations!

    You asked (and it’s turned out to be, er, rather a long reply):

    ME: I’ve had my own changes too, no blog posts since Easter, and only recently been inspired to write posts again (two in the last week). No such valid excuse as yours, except falling deeply in love and suffering recurrent UTIs for four months (too much information I know, but you asked…). Feeling good now, and even more in love. Unexpected, and pretty cool to be ‘in’ again at 60yrs old, after seven years on my own. Wonders never cease.

    The most writer-ly thing I’ve done this year was to join a Meetup Writers Group here in Brisbane. Over 12 weeks we worked through The Artists Way, by Julie Cameron. Morning pages! Morning pages! Amazing… has anyone else done them? Or Artists Dates? The morning pages were/are the most clarifying thing I’ve ever done (and I’ve meditated for decades). Most of the group used pen and a dedicated notebook. I found handwriting strange to go back to, but am convinced it’s more effective and more mobile than keyboarding for this practice.

    For me, it was as if the morning pages gave my ‘other, wiser me’ a voice. I am astounded at the insights and again, clarity, that come from simply writing three pages about ANYTHING, every day. Not journaling. Simply writing and letting it flow, warts and all. No editing, no re-reading. Wow. An exercise well worth making a daily habit. Seriously, even if you feel uninspired to write your novel, poetry, blog, whatever…the morning pages habit is worth considering. And you mention “When I write every day, ideas come”… perhaps it might work for you and your current situation. Less pressure to ‘make’ something, but at least you’d have pen to paper. Nothing is wasted, and many insights that come in the pages are worth using in future writings.

    YOU: But back to you Nicole, and some words of support…

    Moving, writing, mothering, busying. Gotta tell you girl, there is nothing more important than enjoying the moment. Please please do as Denise and Donna suggest and give yourself rest, take the pressure off yourself and, I will add, just take each moment as if it’s a precious treasure. By focussing on each moment, time somehow slows down and you’ll find life doesn’t rush past, as it seems to be doing now.

    I TOTALLY understand the whole moving house/moving sale, stay with parents, future-home-of-dreams journey. We started moving when my daughter was 4 months old, with a toddler of 2yrs, and another son born four years later. By the time that daughter was 13yrs old she asked, “Mum, how many houses have we lived in?” We’d lived in 14 houses in four states. And no, we weren’t on the run! She’s now 27, living in Paris, and we moved even more times after that count.

    Each move, we culled and cut down possessions. You do get better at it, but with kids, possessions seem to increase and stick like the proverbial. I reckon even if you stay put, regular culls are a great idea.

    I love this blog
    and wish it had been around back then. Perhaps it will help you and/or others here who struggle with ‘stuff’.

    Life’s cycles and needs shift as your family and your personal situations change. Again, make the most of every moment. Focus on the joy in each moment and remind yourself of what you’re truly grateful for. Then in years to come you’ll look back at a long and joyous life, one that didn’t rush past you.

    Your writing is truly wonderful and you have a dedicated fan base here. BUT understanding and acknowledging YOUR priorities is paramount. Be true to yourself and all else will follow, with or without writing.

    Apologies for the length of this. Kinda ran away from me… could have used a writer’s block here!

    • Nicole says:

      Jude, it’s so great to hear from you and I’m thrilled for you as well! I’m happy to hear that your health has improved (don’t worry, I’m a big fan of TMI) and how wonderful that you’ve fallen in love. Isn’t that the best feeling? Whether it’s with a partner, spouse, a child, that’s a time to cherish for sure.

      Thank you for the reminder of the Artist’s Way. I read that when I was in college and I think I do need to go back to morning pages. I love writing by hand and I think that if I allowed myself to just write anything…not a journal, not a story…I would have better luck with following through and actually getting words on paper. No doubt the ideas would come eventually.

      Wow! 14 moves! I think you even have our military family move count beat! Thank you for the link to the becoming minimalist blog. I think I will appreciate their tips, though it is hard to reduce stuff as we’re adding family members, it’s certainly possible to make sure there’s not too much excess. I just read a book called Happier At Home. I really enjoyed parts of it and glossed over others, but it was helpful in getting me to think about prioritizing and celebrating small moments.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and I absolutely love hearing your thoughts and finding out how you’re doing. I hope all continues to go well for you in Brisbane.

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