I should be writing. Instead…a quick bread.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP KABOCHA BREAD

http://dishingupthedirt.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-kabocha-bread-recipes/

The moist center is from the ‘swirl’ ingredients.

  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

But I skipped the chocolate chips in the swirl and added some molasses. [My wife is having the lawyer draw up the divorce papers as I write this.] I also added dried cranberries.

Notes:

  • The bread looks a little flat. Rationalization: I like ‘dense’. She suggested that I use more leavener. I actually [this time] followed the recipe and added the suggested amount of baking powder. I wonder if I added too much–Bridget Lancaster of American’s Test Kitchen once warned against overdoing it because the result might be a welcome rise…followed by an unwelcome slump. Shrug. Hand me another piece of the bread. The coffee’s ready.
  • Amazing how much post-baking cleanup can be accomplished when you set the timer for five minutes.
  • Siri loves a good countdown.

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Writers Horoscope January 12: Finally, something in your wheelhouse…

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For today’s 500-word challenge, I’ve been asked to teach something to my thousands [okay, millions] of readers.
Let’s go with procrastination. [Note: I did only a light edit, which is, of course, completely counter to what we polished procrastinators usually do—pore and writhe in agony over word choice, missing commas [most readers wouldn’t notice, but by God, you will…]
First off, start your day with email. You would be surprised how fluent and outright wordy and, even insightful, you become with your emails when you have some more pressing creative pursuit knocking on your conscious or your subconscious. You start noticing quirks in your respondents’ writing style and yucking it up over them. You even suggest some possible fixes, almost as if you know what you’re talking about. Of course, knowing what you’re talking about is secondary to creating the aura of intelligence, experience, and wisdom. The main thing is this: You HAVE to avoid the other work that is calling out for your attention. No matter that you have built your points and premises on a firm foundation of ignorance. Just keep writing.

Okay, so your hands are about to fall off from your feverish keyboarding.

Take a break. Make sure it involves removing yourself from any temptation to listen to your nearly bound and gagged muse. I would suggest cleaning the garage. But tread lightly, bucko, because you might run across boxes of notebooks filled with half-spun tales, expertly written, that might make you think you actually have the talent to get something published. ‘Half-spun’ is the operative term here, by the way. You would risk being engulfed by guilt over never finishing anything and let’s face it, do you really want to risk all that time and energy on a project that probably won’t dig its way out of a slush pile, digital or otherwise?

So, still in the garage, I would say that grabbing a broom and clearing away cobwebs from the rafters would pretty much remove you from the dangers of the ‘creative life’.

Okay, thank god the garage is web-free [mostly]. It’s time for coffee. Now where is that Bialetti pseudo-espresso maker you hadn’t thought about until just now? It’s gotta be underneath the cast-iron skillet which, hey, you could really go for some biscuits to accompany that coffee. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you could probably just throw those biscuits together in nothing flat, but Wednesday’s food section writer [what a hack—someone who actually finishes and publishes] spouted about the appeal of sourdough biscuits and now seems about the right time to throw together a little starter. Quite an appropriate term—starter. No one ever asks, though, if there is such a thing as sourdough finisher.

Well, that little detour did nothing to satisfy the need for an accompaniment to your coffee, now did it?

And geez, that one way-up-high cobweb is still haunting you. Okay, this is simple. You’re going to defrost some of that four-month-old vanilla brandied bundt cake while you venture back to the garage and pull out the ladder to vanquish that ever-threatening cobweb.

Yep, you have everything under control. A cleaner garage, some fresh coffee a brewin’, updated correspondence, and a room temperature piece of cake.
Life is good.
And the caffeine will no doubt fire you up for round two of the day’s creative effort.
But, wait, wasn’t that your phone’s notification chime?

Writers Horoscope January 11: You’re wilting under self-imposed pressures…

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Since when did your writing become so onerous?

This writer takes a step back and gets a grip.

Quote: “There was neither the time, nor the energy, to think much about writing.
And I’m fine with it.”

“You Need To Practice Being Your Future Self,” demands Fox Business.
Future self? Oh, enough already. We need more articles about how to scale down and pace ourselves more calmly today, because life is a marathon instead of a sprint.”

So, writers, even though there’s been plenty of talk about goals here, perhaps the ultimate goal is deceleration. [I just love it when I contradict myself.]


The latest from January’s 500-word challenge:

An imagined interview with author of ‘Finish’, Jon Acuff

Writers Horoscope January 7: Conspirators everywhere…

 

My wife [how dare she?!] ordered the mug below for me for Christmas! It totally undermines my desire to be productive! And I love it.

I just wanna go home and play with my dog coffee mug

Below is the rest of Day 4 of the 500-Words-a-Day Challenge. [In the spirit of Jeff’s free writing’ prescription, I laid low when it came to editing…]

***

Jeff Goins suggests we give free writing a try. No editing.

Amen to that.

So, still on the theme of finishing, or not finishing, in my case, well, there are so many traps out there.

So yes, there are traps around every corner, underneath every strewn magazine, on top of every to-do list you’ve ever created for yourself [and promptly ignored, until the next day, at which point you’re feeling really lousy about how little you accomplished.

On the upside, I’m working on developing some habits that will help me follow through and finish.

Starting with this:

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And this:

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[Time out to appeal to the ‘word count judiciary’. If a picture is worth a thousand words, did I just crank out 2000+ words?]

Okay, I’m back. I’m thinking that ‘pausing’ to transfer and upload photos is hardly in the spirit of free writing and I’m really hoping that Jeff Goins doesn’t have some irritable virtual assistant turning me in on this blatant writerly transgression.

So, the point of the dull boring [can you tell I’m padding my word total again? Nothing cheats word counts like redundancy. Unless you spend words talking about redundancy, which I just did…and continue to do…god, I love free writing.]

Again…the point of the photos—I could have stopped my forward momentum toward my laptop. Instead of picking up that shirt and doing those dishes, I moved back to the laptop. They would still be there after this 500 word catharsis. In the past, it was way too easy to take that ‘responsible spouse’ detour. And now, I’m putting that off in the interest of getting more important stuff done. Really, they’ll be there 20 minutes from now.

***

And now it’s time to take Jon Acuff to task. Couldn’t wait to do this. “If you want it done, make it fun.” That’s one of the mainstay themes in his book. I’m right on board with that, but as I pound away at this project on a less than fun, laptop of the Windows 10/Lenovo ilk, with its annoying notifications, weekly updates and erratic cursor appearances and temperamental trackpad, well, talk about not wanting to reach for it to get stuff done. [Word padding alert–Yes, yes, yes, I can work with the settings and turn that stuff off, but even that is an annoying process and yes, I did just do so after the third notification interruption during this session.]

But enough about me being a technoweenie, let’s blame Jon Acuff for the ‘make it fun’ distraction. “If you want it done, make it fun.” So–and please don’t tell my wife–I’m seriously thinking of picking up a MacBook. No matter that I’ve used the ‘I’ll get more work done!’ argument more than a few times before. I honestly think I will get more done. And I’ll be appealing to all three [if I’m lucky] of you who  A. read this   B. actually agree with my ‘get more done with a Mac’ assertion.

Now that I think of it, if and when I do order that MacBook, I might just have to send the bill to Jon. Or Jeff Goins, for that matter. I mean, really, they’re the reasons I’m in this ‘500 words a day and most likely about following through and finishing’ mess after all.

Geez, I’m feelin’ good. I finished today’s post and I’ve been heaving blame away from me and toward unsuspecting folks who are ‘just trying to help’. Hah, see if they try that again.


An update on my 31-day, 500 word writing challenge.

I should be writing. Instead…Jillicious Bakery

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in Philomath, Oregon.

We are savoring Jill’s presence here, as she is looking to sell!

She loves baking [as the photos suggest], but she’s looking for a change in routine. Can’t fault her there.

Her berry scones had already sold out, but there were plenty of other choices, including the unphotographed chocolate decadence cake [it’s like eating a candy bar with a fork] and additional trays of cupcakes.

But for now, if you know of anybody with comparable personality and baking skills, let them know of this site’s availability.

I’ll even volunteer to be an official taster.