Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The me I used to be...pre-writing.

The other day, a friend of mine gave a run-down of her recent trip to some thrift shops around her town. It sounded like so much fun.  I used to love to "junket for junk".  Thrift stores, flea markets, garage and yard sales ... antique shops.  Wow.  I didn't realize how much I missed it. I'll have to do some antique shopping again soon.

It got me thinking about how many of my pastimes fell by the wayside once I started writing.

1. Baking/decorating cakes and cookies for profit. What started off as fancy birthday cakes for my kids' parties ended up becoming a side business: "Anita's Creative Confections".  My customers were mostly PTA moms and referrals by teachers, but it made a nice little allowance now and again. Here's a picture of a cake I made for a class of 2nd graders going onto 3rd grade:

Hmm. Not sure what I was thinking by putting the storm clouds there. Maybe it symbolized what the 3rd grade teachers were feeling. Heh. I did improve with practice. I even entered a "bird house" cake in the tri-state fair and won first place and best of show ribbons.  The prize?  A twenty dollar bill and a king-sized bottle of vanilla.  Oh, and a certificate and write up in the newspaper, both of which I still have somewhere in the attic, along with the ribbons.  But the vanilla  and the twenty ... well, they've seemingly disappeared along with my desire to ever bake for profit again. :)

2. Sewing. I used to make dresses and outfits for my daughter. This victorian dress won a second place ribbon in the tri-state fair:

And yep, that sweet little model is my daughter. She's eighteen now, and not the least interested in letting me play fashion designer.  I still have the dress and the sewing machine.  But one is gathering dust in my daughter's closet, and the other taking up space in my office that could/should be used for the colossal new bookshelf I need to store my massive collection of "how to write" books.

3. Watching TV. I vaguely remember that big, black box in the living room. It's more of a trophy now.  A tribute to a time long gone when I actually cared about Rachel and Ross' love life.  Or figuring out Kramer's first name.  (Of course, bring back X-files with the original Fox and Mulder, and I'll reconsider). Unless hubby is home or the kid's are inside, the black box stays off. And the only background noises I hear are my WIP's playlist and the lovely hum of my faithful computer's heart. Hummmmm. Love that sound. It's so inspiring.

4. SLEEPING. I used to get in bed at a proper 10:30 or 11. Now, when I'm on a writing stint, I'm lucky to be in bed before 12:30.

The hobbies which haven't fallen away are the ones I can still do while my characters traipse about in my mind, playing out scenerios or arguments that will later make their way on the page.

1. Rollerblading.  I don't go as often as I once did, but when I'm stuck in my story, all I have to do is skate for about thirty minutes and the blood starts pumping ... magically my mind is cleared.  Nine times out of ten, the problem is solved and I pick up my story threads right were I left off. 

2. Gardening is my latest indulgence. Probably because when I'm sifting my fingers through the rich soil, or saturating my senses with vivid petals, moist earth, and fresh breezes, my muse is rejuvenated.

Do you have hobbies you gave up once the writing bug bit? Personally, I don't miss the ones I left behind. I still dabble in them from time to time if the mood strikes, but it's a rare thing.

For me, as a hobby, writing transcends all others.  Instant gratification on a level no other pastime supplies. And as a lifestyle, it fulfills every part of my psyche.  The intellectual side, the emotional, the creative, the curious, the human as a whole. 

Hmm.  Maybe I'll wait on getting out those gardening tools today.  An idea for a new scene just popped into my head. :)


  1. My goodness lady! You're one talented woman. :-) Your daughter looks so beautiful! I adore that pic.
    Let's see...I used to read ALOT more than I do now. I also used to draw quite a bit. I just saw my sketchbooks the other day and felt a little bit of sadness that I'll probably never have time for that hobby again. My poor fingers are out of practice anyway. Heh.
    Oh, you might want to delete that first comment. I think it's spam.
    Congrats on the birdhouse cake too! WOW!

  2. Wow! You are definitely not a one-trick pony! Funny, the more I find out about you, the more I realize we have a ton in common--the cake decorating, gardening, bargain hunting, sewing (though my projects were never as complicated as that amazing dress you made). So cool :o)

    I haven't had to give that much up (yet). About the only thing I've REALLY sacrificed is the amount of TV I watch--especially since most of my writing is done at night. I only have a couple of 'must-watch' shows these days. I don't really miss it, but I think my husband misses spending that time with me :o( So, I guess in a sense, some of my alone time with the hubby was something else I had to sacrifice.

  3. Holy cow, woman! What don’t you do? I’m exhausted just reading this! LOL! What do I miss? Well, I hear you on the sleep – that’s a biggie, and cooking, I love cookbooks and the culinary adventures they spark. Maybe I’ll dust one off tonight and whip something up.

  4. You are a SUPERWOMAN! But I already knew that. ;)

    Holy moly on that cake! So cool. You're so multi-faceted, like a diamond. It's probably why you shine with so much luster.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, my friend. I hardly watch TV anymore either. Or even movies (like DVDs). Reading takes place of TV. My art is suffering, but every now and then, when the writing muse leaves me, I return to my art and do sketches, even if they've nothing to do with my writing. It's just a calming, zen-like experience. I don't bake cakes or sew or garden, but I like to cook. And I like photography--nothing amazing, just my trusty iPhone camera app. Haha!

  5. WOW Anita - a real 'jack of all trades' sort aye? That's really REALLY impressive.

    I think the balance is one of the largest hurdles on the decision of becoming a writer. But even so, some sacrifices has to be made because sometimes, quite literally, there's just not enough hours in the day.

    As for me playing the viola & casual reading (non textbook variety) has all taken quite the backseat for now. My 'me time' now consists of going to the gym which I guess is healthier lifestyle change but just not as satisfying as eating bonbons in front of the tube. lol

  6. I love this! I totally used to do other things too! Dancing and playing the piano, but you are so right, writing transcends all that! Great post!

  7. Another admirer of your many talents here! Your daughter looks lovely; does it sound silly to say she has princess hair? For years I flipflopped between writing and art before I finally wrote my first MS and decided writing was the one I was going to get serious about. Now drawing is stuck in hobby territory.

  8. Your daughter's picture is adorable, and what a list of talents! I especially liked "the lovely hum of your faithful computer's heart." Made me happy!

    What have I given up lately? Hmm, sleep for sure, as pictures from this new WIP constantly dance around in my head and keep me from getting good sleep even when I'm sleeping. Exercise has totally fallen by the wayside, too--except for the exercise I get chasing kids around at work. And bathing... Yeah, bathing has definitely suffered, too. ;)

  9. I sewed a sweatshirt once--in my 7th grade Home Ec. class. One sleeve was like a foot longer than the other and the neckline was wide enough to fit two linebackers in there. (Think of the Cosby Show episode when Denise made Theo that Gordon Gartrell shirt...about that bad). It was hideous.

    Once again, you stupify me with your talents. I'm paying a co-worker two bottles of wine to make Gracie's pumpkin cupcake birthday treats for school. Hey...we all do what we gotta do, right?!

    Love you. Show off. :)

  10. Jessie~ Awww, thank you on so many counts! And what??? How did I not know that you sketched? We've been friends for how long now? LOL. Seems it's never too late to learn something new about someone. I want to see them one of these days.

    Angela~ I know, right? I've noticed that about us. We share a lot of the same talents/interests. I think we might be #goatsistahs. HEH. And that's so true about time with hubbies. Same thing w/me and mine once the TV fell by the wayside. We still go out on a date now and then, tho. And every Friday night without fail we rent a movie to watch together.

    Kathryn~ Heehee. Well, for one, I can't draw to save my life, and that's something I WISH I could do. Oh, feeling you on the cooking. Let me know what you decide to make! :)

    Cherie~ Takes one (superwoman) to know one. ;) You are an AMAZING artist. And so cool with your iphone photography. :)

    Sophie Li~ Ha! I guess you could say that. And wow, you play an instrument so now you're super sophisticated and cultured in my eyes. Cool.

    J.A.~ DAncing, huh? Ballet, or tap? That's so cool. I had my daughter in ballet, but it never quite took. LOL

    Sophia~ Aw, thanks Goblin Market sistah! And yes, she did have princess hair. But now it's shoulder length and dyed black (tho she pulls it off very nicely). Cool about the drawing!

    Lisa~ Thank you, lady. Haha about the bathing! Yeah, that one's completely optional here, too. Heehee

    Bethany~ LOL on the sweatshirt! You could've donated it to snuffaluffagus. Heh. And I would totally have made those cupcakes for you. Please keep me in mind next time you're trading wine for favors. *vineyard queen, remember??* Love back at ya!

  11. Anita, if I'm ever near you, promise to go Antiquing together?? It's my Official Disorder, beside this thing called writing:)

  12. You are as much of a busy bee as I am!

    And you already know this, but I agree that gardening is a great way to get unstuck. I don't rollerblade, but I take walks, too--they really help the creative juices to flow!

  13. I knew how multi-talented you were, but now I REALLY know. Wow!!! I have the same problem with guitar--I often want to sit down and play, but writing takes precedence. And art and drama and everything else. Your daughter is an angel in that beautiful dress!

  14. Wow, I am also impressed with the talent! You are a woman of many facets. :)

    Sleep and TV have definitely gone by the wayside for me. I also have less time for pleasure reading-- which is lame. Sometimes it feels like everything I read has a "purpose" these days. The others: drawing, and singing (other than in the car). I used to sing w/my sister, but now we both have kids-- and living a thousand miles apart is also a hindrance. Thanks for getting me thinking!

  15. LOL! Omg, except for the baking and sewing, we're the same person! Oh, and substitute jogging for rollerblading. Only problem, I find the solution to that problem three miles from home, usually... zoikes! :D Yep, I gardened, was a room mom, played Bunco, went to movies, watched TV... now all that's sporadic. Luckily my friends are excited and supportive. They're also my first betas and they expect to be duly acknowledged! :D LOL~ <3

  16. Anne~ It's a date, girl! I'm not surprised that we're plagued with a love of things old and haunted.

    Michelle~ Haha. Yeah, but I think you pull it off so much more gracefully than me. Especially the gardening. :)

    Pony girl~ Aww! What wonderful praise from one so talented as yourself. That's awesome about the guitar! And thank you about my girlie. She really was a little princess back then. ;)

    Stephanie~ Thank you! And wow, singing?? Now I'm in awe. I'll bet you miss your sister. Maybe you can skype a song or two sometime. Thanks for stopping by!

    Leigh~ LOL about the three miles! You need to carry a recorder with you. Hm. I've heard there are some phones that have a recorder built in. So sweet about your pals, though. I have a few of those myself. Our acknowledgements pages are going to be HUGE. ;)

  17. LOL! Gracefully! I take very careful pictures is all! There is a lot of fumbling, and cycles of neglect and obsession. Also, a lot of days of feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do and spending too much time on Twitter because I can't decide what to do first, or because I lack motivation!

    Now the truth is out! :)

  18. I love antique shops!! Aladdin always drags me off to them, but we find amazing things all the time. That's how I decorated my apartment, lol. You sewing abilities amaze me. I used to sew...I used to do a lot of things before college. lol.

    ...I thought I could write more now, but it's all Grad School apps...and there are a lot of them!!

  19. I picked up new hobbies since writing again. Writing is the best.

    I like your dragon cake and your model is sweet. What a lovely dress.

  20. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x

  21. Anita, I love that cake! And I want some!!!

    Sigh. I used to bicycle more, crochet, and play piano. I don't think I knew, when I started writing, how much it would shift my life. But it's not like I'm being forced. There's a totally and complete willingness that comes along with it. Sigh.

    Great post.

  22. Oh I think about this all the time. Especially on the days when I'm on a writing binge and I realize that the entire time the kids have been in school, I still haven't gotten dressed or done anything but put my hair up in a ponytail LOL. But, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm sure there's a better balance than the one I've struck so far, but the challenge is finding it:) Lovely post.

  23. I actually still do a lot of things other than writing. I bake at least twice a week and watch at least four movies a week. I'm a movie junkie. Always have been. Books and movies are things I will never be able to cut out of my life. I love being whisked away to new places in my mind.

    Maybe you can give me some cake tips. Of all the things I bake, cakes have sort of stumped me. :)

  24. I read a whole lot more. Sounds like you're a lot more fun.

  25. Michelle~ You'll never convince me your anything less than a gardening faery queen! So stop being so humble. If nothing else, you're a photography genius. LOL

    Ashley~ Yay for antiquing! I'll bet your apartment is every bit as adorable and classy as you. :)

    M Pax~ Thanks for the nice words, and for dropping by!

    Lola~ Always nice to see you, too.

    Mary~ Haha. Thanks! I'm thinking it would be pretty stale by now. That was some ten years ago. Heh. And you're so right about the willingness factor. Nothing is more alluring to me than writing.

    Lindsay~ Haha! So nice to know I'm not the only one who does that. Sometimes I get really creative and wear a baseball cap w/my pony tail. I wouldn't trade it either. Never. ;) Thanks for coming by!

    T.S.~ Hey there! You and my brother would get along like clams. He's a movie junkie too. And the baking twice a week? You ROCK!

    Jane~ LOL. I doubt I'm that much more fun. Just ask my poor neglected hubbie. ;)

  26. Sleep. God, I remember sleep. It was so wonderful.

    And omg on the sewing. Man, I have ALWAYS wished I could do that, and that picture is adorable. It's weird how we're forced to admit that there are so many hours in the day... galling, too. >.<

  27. I live in books. I cant think of any better pastime than reading a good book. I especially loved your books and I was devastated when I had to wait for the final. but life will go on and I also enjoy drawing and writing so I can find things to do with myself. I am such a huge fan of your books they even inspired me to do some writing myself. I like to consider myself an ok writer and my English teacher seems to think I could have a career in it but I'm still deciding.