Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quieting Opposing Voices

Be our 300th follower and win our cookbook, Novel Matters on Rice: What to Cook When You Would Rather Be Writing (or Vise Versa). Yes, you can download it for free, but this is a hard copy. Such a treasure! For the other 299 members, we love you to death, too!

Grab a cup of coffee and let's sit for a spell. I'm so proud of myself for finally recording a vlog for you. Oh, the angst of it all! Well, here it is. A bit long. Make that a tall cup of coffee. I promise to be less verbose in the future, but I was so relieved to get the thing done, well, I hope you don't mind.

We're continuing our discussion of Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird. I look forward to your comments. So, on with "Radio Station KFKD."


Wendy Paine Miller said...


You did a wonderful job on your first vlog. I've missed visiting here. Irene knocked us around a little and I haven't had a lot of online access.

Loved all the librarian talk and the dressing for the day point, though I'm a PJ girl at heart.

Read Bird by Bird for a college course. It's part of what I owe my career path to.

Good to be back.
~ Wendy

Megan Sayer said...

Patti that was so cool!
And no, it's not just you and Anne Lamott that hear those annoying voices. At least mine take it in turns. They seem to have a three-day cycle.

The voice I struggle with the most, the one I find the hardest to tune out though, is Facebook. My writing time is limited, and getting encroached upon more and more (as the sunrise gets earlier my kids get up earlier) I need to get disciplined and turn off the stupid modem.
And therein lies the struggle. The only other writers I know...the only other people who understand why I get up at stupid o' on the other end of my modem. They are the good voices, the encouraging ones. They are the ones who keep the others at bay.

Latayne C Scott said...

Patti, that was so refreshing. Wonderful reminders of how seriously we must take our "job" of writing if we want people to take our writing seriously.

You especially convicted me of the importance of rituals. I have been trying to integrate some into my life that make a distinction between writing time and "other" time.

Ixnay on the andlecay. I tried that once, got so involved in my writing that I swept some notes aside to find something else on my desk and realized just before I set my desk on fire that I had covered up the candle with papers.

Patti Hill said...

Wendy: So glad you are back with us! Hope you and those you love came through the storm unscathed.

My "professional" writing togs aren't much more than PJs. A tee is standard with microfiber hiking shorts. But I like to be "dressed" to get into the frame of mind that I'm "at work."

Megan: I just took a month off from Facebook, and my productivity soared. Now what? I'm not sure what my involvement would be. Praying for wisdom.

Latayne: Oh my! Maybe one of those battery-operated, flameless "candles" would work for you.

Henrietta Frankensee said...

Wonderful to see your face and hear your voice! I need the ritual thing so badly in this screaming busy season. Schedule changes are making me nervous and forgetful of breathing. Thanks for the reminder.

Marilyn Yocum said...

Just what I needed. I was on my way to apply for sheepherder gig (or equivalent) :-)

Good job vlogging!

Anonymous said...

Patti, what a wonderful vlog! It was so terrific to see your lovely face and hear your voice. Oh, you inspire me. Don't know if I can actually pull one off, but I do hope to produce my own vlog one of these days. It was a great chapter you covered, one of my favorites, too.

And, Latayne, I'm still laughing. Ixnay on the andlecay. Yeah, I guess!!

Marilyn Yocum said...

I'm back....and convicted about how far I've fallen away from my rituals. Thanks for making such a strong point with your examples.

Patti Hill said...

Henrietta: I'm so much more productive with rituals and a get to my desk. The best to you.

Marilyn: If sheep hung out at Starbucks, I wouldn't mind being a sheepherder. But they don't. They get very dirty. And the smell...ack!

I sure didn't mean to convict anyone, just help. Keep it simple.

Sharon: Thanks! I look forward to seeing your lovely face, too.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Oh Patti, what a TREAT! So much fun to see your pretty face and actually hear you talking. I'm sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table, so it almost felt like having you round for a cuppa. So glad you did this.

The voices - yes!!! I find it hard to remove those headphones. I've really struggled with this. Funny how seeming opposites like pride and insecurity can actually be so closely linked.

Love your writing rituals. I need to try something like this. For the past couple of weeks my physical self has shown up at "work" on time (5.15am), but my brain has taken another hour or so to arrive. So I "warm up" by checking email, Facebook, Twitter.... oops, there goes an hour. How crazy is it to sacrifice wonderful, cherished, dearly missed sleep in the name of social networking?! Megan, I know exactly where you're coming from! Someone slap me round the head with a MacBook, please.

Anonymous said...


That was far too fun! Finally get to hear what your sweet voice sounds like :).
I love the idea of ritual...or as I would probably call it...discipline or routine. It's not something I'm good at AT ALL. My husband is a wizz at he's teaching me by living it out. I think there's so much wisdom in living with ritual/discipline/routine in ALL areas/professions of your life. It grounds you and keeps you focused (therefore making you a more productive human being in general). It's so true. Most days, I'm floundering around trying to bat my way through all the many voices hanging from the ceiling trying to get my attention (this needs done, that needs done, you should really call so-and-so, why didn't you do this? blah blah blah!)...simply because I struggle so much with setting up a ritual. But on the days (today was one of them actually!!) that I take the time to rise up early and really just take responsibility for my day instead of expecting all the universe to just make my day happen for me...the day totallly clicks! For me, it's reading the Word...taking a short walk while my little one sleeps (not as much for exercise as time to just listen to God in His Creation and pray - being still, being quiet)...and getting my maidservants (aka the dishwasher and washing machine) working at their tasks so I can focus on what else needs done in the day. It's totally incredible that by taking that time and being PURPOSEFUL about tasks and life that vision comes into focus...the negative/distracting voices stop or get drowned out...and life carries on a little more seamlessly. Especially in a home-job; I think you are so wise to have something that symbolizes your "punching the time-card"'s such a simple and brilliant idea. I'll need to think on what mine will be. I loved the idea of lighting a candle! My job isn't's homemaking...but I think all these principles would benefit me just as much and help me stay on task and accomplish so much more in my day! And like Megan said...the computer can be such a ritual-ruiner/time-steeler...I've found that making sure I have certain things done before even approaching the computer helps me to get the right start to my day AND helps me recognize better if I'm wasting time and it's easier to step away.
I just love this site...this is what being a woman is about...teaching one another to live well and serve well.
Great job Patti! Happy ritual-making all!! :D

Anonymous said...

O yes...and logging off of facebook a year ago was one of the best choices I ever made. Facebook is not evil...but it certainly can become an addiction...especially for someone so laxidaisical as myself about time. I haven't missed it at all...actually I feel so free without it...e-mail works just as well to keep in touch and I find the relationships I keep are the important ones...the other "friends" on my list was just (I can't believe I'm confessing this) totally me being nosey and wanting to know what was going on in everyone's life...the Bible distinctly warns about that in several places...yipes!
For is better without it.

Kathleen Popa said...

Patti, how wonderful to see you face to face. I loved every word you said. My biggest ritual is to read my work from the day before, make corrections, read it again - aloud - and try to get back into the stream.

I love the scene in the film, Little Woman, where Wynona Rider is curved over her writing, with her special velvet writer's hat, and, I'm pretty sure, a candle. I did try the candle once, but it made me feel silly. Now I do most of my writing on my laptop, in my comfy chair, to make it feel different from my design work.

Patti Hill said...

Karen: I loved having a cuppa with you. Before we leave this topic, I should say that it took me a loooong time to realize how important ritual is. Once I saw the fruit of ritual, I became committed to the practice.

Ashten: Always love to hear from you. Here's a side benefit to ritual or routine: It gives me the freedom to say no to things--some of them praiseworthy and excellent--that aren't what God has given me to do. I've learned so much about managing my time and efforts as a homemaker. I don't mind doing a little housework but hate doing a day's worth. Also, I've been terribly embarrassed when people stop by to see heaps and heaps of chaos in my house. So I have a 2-week cleaning schedule. I do a little housework each day, so my house is never magazine perfect, but it's not heaped with chaos either. I've been doing my housework like this for quite a few years. You'll find what works for you. And yes! Starting the day in the Word, under the apple tree with Jesus, starts the day just right.

Patti Hill said...

Katy: I do that too! Getting back in the grove happens right after I punch in.

I mostly light a candle--carefully--on dreary days, just to add a spark to the room. We're so spoiled with 320 days of sunshine in Colorado that I feel like someone has put a bag over my head when it's cloudy. It's tough to see the monitor.

Anonymous said...

Patti: Right On!! I love homemaking and everything to do with it...but I'm definitely still learning how to get into a "routine"...the funny thing is; when I had an away-from-home job, I was so much better at doing scheduled cleaning - partly because no one was here to make constant messes - but also because I already had a schedule to work around so it just helped me prioritize. Home managing has now become my full-time job...I love love it...but establishing routine has most certainly become a necessity...those piles you speak you stalking my house? HA! And the "sayng No"...yes, another flaw that the Lord has been dealing with...and SUCCESSFULLY! Having Aubrey has made that easier...I don't feel guilty saying "no" so I can give 100% to my loved ones and the home I manage for us. Thank you for the encouragement and inspiration. As you said...appreciating that what we do IS important and REAL work even if we're not "punching a clock" helps us to take it more seriously and command more from our days!
Kathleen...Little Women is one of my all time faves...I also adore that scene...and the one after she writes "Little Women" and puts the little red flower on top when she's finished. Such a romantic fuzzy feeling it gives!
I just finished canning 7 quarts of tomato stock and I had a lemonade candle lit in the kitchen while I worked as well as some David Nevue playing in the CD player daughter went down unfussed for her nap at the precise moment I needed free hands to ladel the stock into the is a good day indeed...Bird by Bird...