I should be writing. Duuuhhh, I AM writing.

National Novel Writing MonthAt midnight of Nov. 1, fueled by a mug of strong Winter Blend, I started National Novel Writing Month.

I decided this would be the time I would use it to my advantage rather than snag some idea out of midair and dive in.

Some observations:

  1. The weather is not at all cooperating. It’s been gorgeous and clear and beckoning me to soak up the rays. It’s not easy to peck away at the laptop when the shafts of sunlight provide the enticement of ‘C’mo-o-on, T, you’d better get out here because you know what kind of cold and gray and dark and wet awaits you any day now.’
  2. I tried some voice-to-text to crank out the words a little faster, but it’s going to take a little practice. The character’s voice doesn’t come out nearly as readily when I’m having to assume the role via my own voice.
  3. I have a whole box of books of ideas at the ready to fuel my plot, [One of my favorites from my teaching days [If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book!  by Marjorie Frank], but I just found that keeping a ‘sharpening the saw’ file on my computer is more helpful.
  4. The doubts are there, as usual. ‘Geez, the action is dragging along.’  And ‘You need to make the main character’s pace more urgent, more manic, more frantic.’  But I am trying to plow past those doubts. So far, I’m at 8000 words, so I’m decently ahead of pace and I’m having enough fun to keep it going.
  5. To keep in touch with my character’s voice, I read excerpts from Ellen Degeneres’ book, Seriously, I’m Kidding.

I should be writing. Instead, celebrating an important holiday.

Buddy is almost always camped out wherever I’m writing…honest, he has a bed in this room! Why he chose this spot is beyond me.

National Make a Dog’s Day…

Essentials for the day:

Order him a new toy.

–Donate to Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon.

–Follow through on the three daily walks.

–Hide treats around the house beneath stuffed animals or under well-worn yogurt containers. [Not exactly Martha Stewart Living material, but it keeps him entertained.]

And finally, give his highness time on his throne.

And let’s tie in the importance of dogs to writers with this post from Writer Unboxed.

I should be writing. Instead, prototyping cinnamon bun alternatives…

cinnamon buns
They ain’t pretty. Thus, the ‘prototyping’ label.

October 4 was National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden and clearly I had no choice but to honor the good folks from the way-up-north.

But ssshhhh, don’t tell them, I was too time-strapped [I.e. impatient, lazy, and disorganized] to use a yeast-based recipe.

And there it was–a lonely, neglected sheet of puff pastry in the freezer.

Time to experiment.

1. Thaw that baby out**.

2. Make up my own filling.

  • Hydrated raisins
  • Allspice
  • Gobs of cinnamon [the appropriate unit for my favorite spice]
  • Softened butter/vanilla shmear
  • Chopped almonds

3. Use the Pepperidge Farm baking instructions for a cheese-and-spinach something-or-other as a general guide and hover.

Nope, not pretty. But the ratio of pastry-to-filling–goooood stuff.

I’ll try it again…and maybe even work on the aesthetics.

True, not exactly buns

Will I be adopted by the Swedes anytime soon? Probably not. But I thank them for their special day.


**Writers and grammar-wonks, I probably should have juxtaposed ‘thaw’ and ‘out’, but it just wasn’t as pleasing to the ear. Sorry.

I should be writing. Instead, delivering comfort…

bowl of soup

…in the form of Wor Wonton Soup.

L has been going toe-to-toe with a virus and nothing fortifies her better than this.

1. Shortcut:  I didn’t actually make the won tons. I just cut the wrappers into strips and added them late in the process. [Okay, okay, it’s actually ‘wor wonton wrapper strips soup’.]

2. What’s the difference between wonton soup and wor wonton soup?

3. One definition of ‘wor’ in the Chinese language is ‘everything’. Works for me. Think ’empty the fridge and cupboards’.

4. One of my favorite parts of making soup: watching it grow…and grow…until “we’re gonna need a bigger pot”. Leftovers? Absolutely.

5. This recipe https://noshingwiththenolands.com/wor-won-ton-soup/ outclasses the broth from the local Chinese restaurants. It’s the ginger, I’d say, though the early addition of Chinese five-spice and elephant garlic in the sesame oil-infused heat didn’t hurt.

6. Why do I keep weaving cooking into my writing?

This piece https://writingcooperative.com/want-to-write-better-try-cooking-b918272b7025   helps explain.

Overwhelmed at the thought of writing?

Fast Company’s Art Markman has four suggestions:

  1. Break it down

  2. Make an outline

  3. Just get something down

  4. Write for five more minutes


If the list doesn’t tell you enough [and it doesn’t], here is the fleshed out version.

And I would add another suggestion.

Bake…[no, it doesn’t necessarily help you generate a bestseller, but it’s great for an afternoon coffee and who knows, the caramel experiment might just pay off in a fun blog post.]

two banana breads side-by-side
I added an amaretto caramel to the banana bread on the left. I added an Irish cream caramel to the banana bread on the right.