Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

It’s All About the Color…Sometimes

My mice died. Both of them!

The touch-pad on my computer and my Bluetooth one.

No, nothing furry or creepy-cute. But, I felt like crying and cursing when my cursor stopped responding to my cues.

Now, I have a cobalt blue mouse. And it matches the keyboard. And the pen.

But, I didn’t pick the blue accessories right away. First, I thought I would pick maroon. My eyes when back and forth in a visual “eeny meeny miny moe.” My husband said to pick the one I wanted. The one I wanted was purple. But, there isn’t a purple option anymore.

So, I asked my middle son.

I knew what he would say, but I asked anyway and more than once. I asked which one he would pick. I asked which one would inspire me to write. I asked which one all the while thinking about which color would go best with my house decor and that I would miss how my purple keyboard coordinated with my phone and my e-book cover and that the maroon would match my favorite tote bag’s liner but maybe too much so as not to be seen at a glance and that I was willing to pay for color instead of the discounted black because I want to be unique and that the blue matches my favorite Ocean Blue Le Pen and…

“The blue one,” he said…again.


“I hate red.”

It didn’t occur to me until I had a color-coordination conversation with my mother the next day why he said he hates red. (Yes, we actually had a lengthy discussion about how I was resigning myself to my color choice and resisting the urge to color-coordinate my other devices. For the moment. While I was talking with her, she remembered she needed to change the cover on her computer from one with pink hydrangeas to solid green to have it match better with the yellow walls. I love my mother, so I proudly embrace any genetic distinctions that link me with her. But, I do think we are slightly as well as delightfully weird.)

“Red is an angry color for him,” she reminded me.

I gasped with agreement. It may be his oldest brother’s favorite color, but that is the only reason why red would be endearing for him. Red is the color his school refers to for angry, aggressive moods.

If my son walked by my office every day and saw that maroon keyboard, how would that affect his mood?

Then I remembered I had a similar thought in the store. Which color would inspire me to write more? I certainly didn’t want to approach my computer with angst every morning because of the color of my keyboard and mouse and pen.

I saw that maroon pen as The Red Pen. The one I stopped using for editing because of the pain and rage it inflicts on others. (It’s also why I will miss my purple keyboard even more.)

There was a logical and ethical decision here and really only one based on my home decor and my son’s feelings on the matter.

There was a color that would inspire and calm at the same time.

So, I picked that one. The color of my favorite Le Pen. The color that reminds me of my mother who loves that pen brand and Ocean Blue, too. The color that reminds me not everything is about what I want, but about what others need. When my son walks by my office, he will sense the calm and the quiet and the peace even if there are emotions raging on the page. He will know his mom is happy if maybe a bit melancholy. Just as a poet ought to be.

Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Snow Days

Yesterday a blizzard blew through my area. It was a bit frightful to go outside, so I stayed in. What a great opportunity for writing!

Weather can provide opportunities to write, but some forecasts are better than others for certain writers. Snow days keep us cozy inside pondering how to weave treacherous conditions into our stories. Thunderstorms ignite fearful scenes and hiding under warm blankets while typing. Cloudy days bring out the melancholy moments for our characters (and maybe for ourselves). Sunshine inspires us to take a nature walk with our journals and write poems about our sensory experiences.

Or we can take any of these weather forecasts and write about the opposite condition. Writing can transport us from a blizzard to a beach.

Whatever the weather, finding writing opportunities is an accurate prediction.


What is your favorite writing weather?

Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

One of Those Days

Some days I wake up and say, “Not today.” I don’t say it with a groan or with exclamation. I might (or might not) stomp my foot, though, if I explained all the reasons, no one would blame me if I did. I simply give myself firm permission to do only what I want and only what is necessary.

That’s what I did yesterday.

  • I studied: I do biblical devotions five times a week (sometimes six, maybe seven), but the length varies on what I am studying and how much time I have. Yesterday, I took extra time to takes notes and revel in God’s Word. I needed that mental and spiritual stimulation to settle some emotional upheaval.
  • I vacuumed: Sucking up stuff feels so great when life sucks.
  • I encouraged: I spent time talking through two different concerns with two different children. It helped me to dispel my own feelings by listening to theirs. It prompted me to approach each issue according to the personality and needs of the person. Granted, that meant it took longer to resolve. But, I took the time. I gave each situation the time it needed. I’m not always good at that. So, in a sense, I encouraged myself.
  • I read: I finished one book and chipped away at another. They were different in subject and genre. I filled myself with other writer’s worlds to escape my own for a while.
  • I thought about writing: I considered this post and started writing a poorly rhymed poem about it. Then I said again, “Not today,” and went back to reading. Many writers cling to the notion that writers must write every day. Not this writer. Sometimes I am content to think about what I am going to write the next day. Otherwise, it’s just bad poetry.

Give yourself permission–writer or not–to say “Not today.” You might find yourself better prepared to face the next one. You might gain the confidence to say, “Now today.”


Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Alone, But Not Lonely

Sometimes you have to be alone in order to find out who you are without anyone telling you. Sometimes you have to be alone so you can learn the sound of your own voice.

from You Can Do This by Tricia Lott Williford

As a home educator, I am rarely alone in the house. There were years when finding a place of solace meant sitting in the bathroom longer than necessary or clearing a place in my walk-in closet to have my quiet time. As my children have grown, my moments of reprieve have expanded. They sleep in, and I have a few more minutes before the hurry-scurry of the day. We go off to their activities, and I have time to read or knit while I wait. I leave the radio off in the car on purpose so that I can drown out the cacophony of life with silence.

But, my favorite escape is to my local coffee shop. I pack my bag with my laptop, reading material, notebook, and anything else I might want. I order my signature beverage that the coffeehouse staff knows by heart and find a table. Alone.

Yet, I’m not lonely.

I write. I read. I study. I listen. I hear the voices around me, but mostly I hear my own voice.

That’s important for a writer.

All writers have a unique tone and style. Having time alone allows that voice to be heard. We might not always like what we hear, but we must heed it. This is the voice of reason, our purpose for existing.

Because no one can tell your story the way you can.