Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: July 20, 2014

We were spoiled rotten this week, weather-wise –  highs in the upper 70s, record lows in the 50s – and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Of course, such abnormal conditions require a pendulum swing the other way, and today begins our typical triple-digit heat index temperatures.  It sounds like this might be a good week to stay indoors and read….

HP ChamberReading:  Last week I mentioned my current reading slump.  It is not a lack of material, nor a lack of time, but rather an inability to prioritize and stay focused.

I have not made much headway this week.  I am attempting to tweak my schedule so that I don’t save reading for bedtime.  That is not working for me; I read about two pages before my eyes begin to close.

However…. I am trying an experiment.

For those who follow my walking routine, you know I prefer a slower-paced longer walk to a brisk 5k each morning, especially on these hot, humid days.  I typically walk for about an hour and while I enjoy listening to playlists, I find that I try to keep step with the beat rather than maintaining my own pace.

So in the spirit of productivity, efficiency, and fun… I have started listening to the Harry Potter books while walking … and I LOVE it!  The storyline is easy for this visual learner to follow, the narrator’s voice is delightful, and I am learning the voice and rhythm of Middle Grade fiction, which helps in my own writing.  A win-win-win, if you will.

So far I have listened to about eight chapters and even find myself looking forward to the morning walk so I can continue “reading” the book.  For those who have tried to persuade me to listen to audiobooks in the past, I thank you for your patience … I can be a rather slow learner.

plaza-3Writing:  I have done a lot of thinking about writing, but not a lot of writing.  Normally I would stress about this, but I know myself well enough to know that this is just the way I work.

I have two deadlines this week.  I know subconsciously my brain has been mulling and cultivating, plotting and scheming.  And I know that when push comes to shove, I will put my butt in chair and write.

I anticipate two days of just “spitting words onto paper” … my typical pattern of writing a rough draft.  And then the next two days tweaking.  The job will get done.  It won’t be perfect, but it’s not supposed to be.

Blogging:  While I continue to maintain the blogging schedule, I find that listening to audiobooks on my walk requires more focused attention, which means fewer “epiphanies” to record.  I am  thinking of modifying the 10,000 steps schedule to just twice a week.

There is a part of me that likes the discipline of writing for the same blog each day.  As Austin Kleon says, one post is not noteworthy, but 1,000 posts represents a life’s work.  I like the idea of having 365 posts to review, to see how far I have come what all I have learned.  But I fear that these posts are boring to others, and will eventually lead to burn for me.  And I am all about developing routines that are sustainable over the long run.

We shall see…. In the meantime, here are my posts for the week:

plaza-4Artist Date:  For the second week in a row I took myself to the Country Club Plaza to complete the research for my travel writing piece.  This time I went with camera in hand to try to capture some of the European elements of this Midwestern city.

I could not have asked for a better day:  bright clear skies, temperatures in the lower 70s, and very little humidity –  NOT typical weather for our fair city!

I spent a little over an hour walking up and down the streets, marveling at the beauty and culture I have failed to see until recently.  I took nearly 200 pictures – which is a lot for me – and edited about 10% of those before posting to my flickr account.

I will use these edited photos as inspiration for writing the travel piece.  My “show vs tell” needs a lot of work, and I am hoping that the visual piece will help me identify the sensory details.


I have a rather busy week … writing, reading, and attending class in Iowa City next weekend.  I hope you find time to do what you love to do as well.


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