September 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo


NaNoWriMo

So what are your plans for this November? Do they involve big meals and family gatherings?  Let me ask you another question.  Do you enjoy writing?  Have you ever thought of writing a novel?  How do you feel about awesomely crazy challenges?   On November the first, hundreds of thousands of amazing people will start typing their way to their noveling goal.  What is that goal?  And why are they all starting at the same time?    Fifty Thousand Words!! And NaNoWriMo!!!  Fifty thousand words is no small feat.  But it is not impossible, I promise.  Lots of wrimos(NaNoWriMo participants) have succeeded.  Many have even gone on to be published.  See a list of some of them on the official NaNoWriMo website.  This will be my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo.  How about you?  Do you have an idea that is percolating?  Even if you have no clue what you would write it’s okay.  You can still participate if you want.  Plenty of wrimos “write by the seat of their pants.”(<--Not my words)  Join us this November for a literary adventure you’ll not soon forget.  Learn more and begin your adventure at http://nanowrimo.org
NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo webbadge of 2012.  More available at http://nanowrimo.org



Last week I asked you to do a short piece about a physical activity you enjoy doing.  Here is what I wrote about bicycling.


Riding My Bicycle

By Lilian Brennan

I hear the soft clicking from my wheels.  Perhaps the fenders or the spokes.  Such a small noise.

As my journey starts, I pump my legs with a negligible amount of effort.

I hear one bird apart from the rest chirping periodically.  It amuses me.  The rest of the world a field of gentle auditory clatter.

I stop pedaling and lean into the next lane.  I glide through the momentarily vacant road.  An easy maneuver.

The smell of not just cut, but recently cut grass catches my attention.  A floral pollen smell permeates everything and I imagine that those with bad allergies find this smell more than unpleasant.

I begin to pump my legs with more effort and move my speed to a good pacing.

The air as it seems to rush by catches the tips of my hair and pulls it back in a near tickle.

This is my feeling of freedom.



So did anyone else write something?


Writing Exercise: Description Exercise

This week, pick an item.  Any inanimate object.  Describe the item in detail.  However, do not use the name of the item.  Try describing the item in such a way as to illustrate what it is.  Ask a friend to read the passage.  Can they tell you what you were describing?

My 13 Autumn Goals For 2013

Well I have drawn up my 13 goals for autumn.  I decided I would put them up really quick.  If you don't know what I am talking about here is the original post.  13 Autumn Goals.  And here are my 13 goals for autumn of 2013.


  1. Write 60K words for Nanowrimo
  2. Buy a cozy Japanese futon
  3. Make a donation to the local Girl Scout Council
  4. Draw up a decor plan for my home that I can use for reference.  Include colors, motifs, and theme.  
  5. Go with friends to a museum, exhibit, or gallery.  Maybe even the aquarium.
  6. Host a lolita meet-up
  7. Try a seasonal tea
  8. Learn to use the program GIMP 
  9. Craft and mail Autumn cards
  10. Learn at least three new recipes (bonus for using seasonal ingredients) 
  11. Read two books
  12. Decorate for autumn
  13. Learn some conversational French.  

Also my friend Lacy has posted her goals for the challenge.  Go check her list out here.  

September 26, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Autumn is here!

    Well it is Thursday.  Anyone who follows Gala Darling is certain to know about her weekly gratitude lists, called “Things I Love Thursday”(TiLT for short).  I am so grateful to Gala Darling for running this feature on her blog.  I started writing my own TiLT lists on my LiveJournal about 10 months ago and my perspective on life has shifted so much in those ten months.  We can get so caught up in the negative that we forget about all the good things that have happened.  It is a great practice to sit down once a week and meditate on all the good things that happened.  If you write them down you can always go back and read them.  This can be a great way to give yourself an emotional boost on those rough days.

    I feel that it is only natural that I start posting my Things I Love Thursday lists here.  So without further ado here is Petticoat Pedaler's first TiLT list.




    I would again like to extend a big thank you to Gala Darling for inspiring me to remember the good things.  Check out some of her lists under her Things I Love Thursday Tag.

September 25, 2013

13 Autumn Goals

     I love challenging myself.  Nanowrimo and The Day Zero Project have been very good to me.  They have pushed me to do better and do more.  It always feels great to achieve what you set out to do.  Especially in a world where sometimes it feels like the odds are stacked against you.  After seeing this post on The Day Zero Project tumblr, I wanted to create a list of goals for fall of my own.  I started to brainstorm and discussed the idea with some friends, including Lacy from Night Lights and Day Dreams and Jenn from  Spa With Jenn.  I decided to share the project here and see if anyone else was interested in it.  If this works well, I might do it again for winter.

     The idea is to create a list of 13 goals to complete during autumn.  I chose the number 13 because that is the number of weeks in each season.  Not so many that it will get overwhelming and not so few that it is too easy unless all the tasks are difficult.  The list can be fairly casual or very challenging depending on what you choose to do.  With help I created a list of guidelines to keep a variety in the goals.   Before I lay out the guidelines, notice that if you add up all the numbers down there you come up with 15.  But there are only supposed to be 13 goals?  No worries.  Look at these as elements or qualities that some of your goals need to have.  The idea is to use more than one of the elements to create a goal.  I will give some examples below on how this could work.  But first the list of elements:


  • 1 item needs to be difficult (at least one thing on this list really needs to challenge you)
  • 1 financial goal 
  • 1 item needs to benefit someone else (an act of kindness, volunteer work, etc.)
  • 1 item should be something you are doing for the first time. (Try something new.)  
  • At least 2 items should involve a group or being social.  (You don’t have to speak in public, but at least do something with friends)
  • 3 items should be based on the season
  • 3 items need to be creative 
  • 3 items need to make you smile. (Do something you will be proud of or that will make you happy)



     Here are some examples of goals that would involve more than one of the elements.

  1. Carving a pumpkin would be creative and fall themed.  It may also cause smiling.  
  2. Have you ever made a pecan pie?  That would count as trying something new, being creative, autumn themed, and you could do it with someone else.  Especially if they know how to bake one and can teach you.    That is four elements in one goal.  


     Once you have come up with goals, using the guidelines above, if you still have goals to create those goals are entirely up to you.  Use your imagination.

     What do you think?  Want to make the most of the season with me?  Autumn(spring in the southern hemisphere) started this week on Sunday.  The last day of the season is December 20th.  The following day being the winter solstice, the longest night of the year.  That gives us about twelve and a half weeks to come up with and complete 13 different goals.  What are we waiting for?  Let’s create some fun!


September 23, 2013

3 Useful Writing Activities

If you read my last post, you know that I love writing. So today I would like to talk about a few of my favorite writing activities I have done over the years. If you are interested in writing perhaps you will find one of these helpful. At the end of the post I will also be posting a writing exercise for anyone interested.  


What is left of my original creative writing journal.

Keeping a writing journal

For a creative writing class in high school we were assigned to write for ten minutes every day. It didn't matter what we wrote, as long as we kept writing during those ten minutes. I wrote in a pink composition book that I decorated with comics I cut out of the paper. I took that book with me everywhere. The cover fell off and there were pages I stapled in. I eventually filled that book and started a new one. I developed some great habits back then. Some days it is harder to write than others. When you are writing at least a little every day, it gets easier to handle those rough days. I don’t really use a creative writing journal anymore. I do most my work on the computer where I can use a search function to find the section or file I need to look over. Though I might pick up the habit again at some point. Maybe for poems. Or perhaps to take on outings to collect random moments of inspiration. It would also help avoid scrapping for a napkin or some other piece of paper when those moments hit.

National Novel Writing Month

A friend introduced me to this crazy challenge. Nanowrimo takes place in November. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in thirty days. I have heard it referred to as “the end of the someday novelist.” I have been taking a crack at this challenge each November since 2009. It is tough and crazy and so worth it. The idea is to just write. No editing. No deleting. You just write. It is a fabulous way to get the ideas out of your head and on the page. Then when December rolls around you can start editing if you like.  
Want to check Nanowrimo out for yourself. You can find out more at nanowrimo.org

Free Flow Writing in the Morning

In the last year or so I learned about Morning Pages and 750words.com.  The basic premise of both is to write three pages or 750 words first thing in the morning to clear your head. To read more about them, specifically, check out their sites. Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages at http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/ and 750words at 750words.com. Personally, I just keep a document on my computer labeled “Morning pages.” First thing in the morning I write in it for twenty minutes or until I have written 750 words. It is by no means a creative writing journal. For the most part it is a brain dump. A daily cleansing exercise if you will. I would even say that I find these free flow writing sessions therapeutic. I always feel so much clearer and productive on days that I do this.
So what are your favorite writing or creative activities?

Writing Exercise

I will be posting a writing exercise each week on Mondays. Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome. If you have or know of any exercises that you’d like to share e-mail me or leave a comment. I will be posting what I write for this exercise next Monday. And without further ado this week’s writing exercise:
Is there a physical activity you enjoy doing? Walking, volleyball, playing king of the mountain on the jungle gym. Do that activity. Pay close attention to all your senses as you do this. What muscles are you using? What do you see? How do you feel physically and mentally? How do you feel afterwards? What do you smell? When you finish, write a short piece about the activity. You can write in any form you feel like. Haiku, free verse, just a section of description if you like. It is entirely up to you. Disclaimer: I, Lilian Brennan, am not responsible for any injury incurred while participating in the writing exercise. Furthermore, I do not endorse or suggest the playing of king of the mountain on a jungle gym. You have been warned. Have fun. 

September 22, 2013

Hello World

When it began, I decided that I wanted to live. I didn't do anything differently. It was merely a slow changing in my thoughts that began to occur. As my thoughts began to change, I began to imagine the life I would like to live. Where and how and doing what. I would imagine with deep longing for these hopes that would never be. I did not believe I could do or have those things, so I did nothing. Then at some point I decided to live and this is where everything changed. I decided that I could have those things and I would have those things. I decided I was not satisfied with the monotony. I wanted out of life what following the path could never offer me. I do not want to live the dream that is paved out for us. I want to live my dream. I am on a track to live my dreams and make my life fit me, instead of bending and contorting myself and soul to fit the life that is shaped in my surroundings. Longer than I can remember I have always been a storyteller. In high school I had the opportunity to take classes that allowed me to practice the art of words. But that is not all I am. I am a scholar. I love to learn. And I have seen a concept of such beauty to me, which I must in my lifetime study until I can comprehend it. Yet my love for words has never died and every day I think of writing.
So I will write and study and share. Will you join me on this adventure?

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