I am officially a writer…because my linen closets would make Martha herself weep

capability mom gets organized with martha stewart
Photo - Martha Stewart

I am a writer – no, not because I just got paid to write (that happened a while ago) but because when I joined NaNoWriMo (nothing smoother? from writers, really?) I became suddenly extremely interested in cleaning, specifically all of the closets in my house. I have yet to tackle the junk drawer or the basement, but Martha Stewart herself would be proud of my linen closets (except I slacked and didn’t label everything – that may mean I am also still sane). Why? because I am supposed to be writing 1,600 plus words per day and I am not even close. Brutal, to even attempt it with a family, a part-time job and a modicum of a social life… plus I do like to sleep at least 8 hours and I am just not cutting it – the writing, the sleeping is going well, thanks.

Part of this is good for me because I have never even admitted I wanted to do this (write a novel) but I also am slightly risk averse and never want to fail at anything but here I am publicly announcing that I am writing a novel and now publicly failing to deliver. I should be ashamed but instead I am thrilled, thrilled that I was bold enough to try it and smart enough to know I am in the weeds and am not getting out any time soon.

I did write for a few hours on Sunday afternoon while the rest of the family was at the Boston College Women’s Soccer game and you may think I have all day during the week but it is surprising how much of my time is really taken up with household matters and not just the made up ones. Now I have to go…write? No, I could be doing that now, right? Nope, even better! I found a car kit that I need to put together first…Thank you, Martha!

capability mom puts off writing for another day with help from martha stewart
Photo - Martha Stewart




The Benefits of Being a Late Blooming Writer and The Christmas Village Giveaway

Melissa Ann Goodwin is a wonderful writer that I was introduced to by WOW (Women On Writing). It turns out that Melissa and I are both bookish types that hail from the same New England town…small world! I love her post and am taking it to heart – Thanks, Melissa!

Guest Post: The Benefits of Being a Late Blooming Writer

by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Many of us who delayed pursuing our true callings tend to be pretty hard on ourselves for taking so long to get cracking. For many years, I beat myself up for doing everything except write. But now I realize there are a lot of reasons why it can be better to come into your own a little later in life. Here are three reasons why, for me, it’s been better to be a late blooming writer:

I’m less eager to please:  As a young woman, I craved approval from others. Back then, I would have been so flattered that someone wanted to publish my work that I fear I would have done whatever they asked (or told) me to do. I wouldn’t have had the courage or confidence to say NO, or to stand up for my own views. My soul would have ached for authenticity. Now that I’m older, I have a very clear sense of myself and of what I want to present to the world under my name. Of course, I want to “please others” in the sense that I hope that there will be people out there who love my work. But at least they will love the true essence of me and what I have to offer.

I’m Waaaaaaay Less Sensitive to Rejection: By the time we reach middle-age, most of us have experienced plenty of rejection. When we’re young, it’s all so personal and painful! Over time, we grow to realize that it’s not always personal, it’s not a reflection of our true worth, and it’s not necessarily an indication of the quality of our work. It’s just someone’s opinion. Had I pursued writing more aggressively when I was younger, I think it’s likely I would have given up, because rejection was so hard to take back then.

I’m less afraid:  It’s pretty common for writers to be afraid of both success and failure. In middle-age, I have a far different definition of both than I did in my twenties or thirties. Back then, it was about recognition and money. Now, my definition of success is realizing my potential as a person and a writer. As long as I’m doing that, there is no such thing as failure.
I hope that my thoughts here will help folks out there who’ve been tough on themselves for getting a late start. Don’t despair! Everything you’ve done, everything you’ve been through, matters. It will all go into the cauldron and make you a better writer or artist or teacher or whatever it is you aspire to be. But don’t wait too much longer – time’s a-wasting.

About the author: Melissa Ann Goodwin is a native New Englander, now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband, artist J. Richard Secor. She has written extensively for Fun for Kidz, Boys’ Quest and Hopscotch for Girls. She was a regular feature article contributor to the Caregiver’s Home Companion for more than five years. Her poetry took 10th prize in The Writer’s Digest 2010 annual competition. WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re hosting a giveaway of her book. The Christmas Village is her first novel.

The Christmas Village is a sweet tale of magic and escapism, hope and courage. Young Jamie Reynolds and his mom are in bad place – his father has left them after some financial misdeeds (vague but troubling) and Jamie feels like an outcast, especially when his best friend isn’t allowed to be friends with him anymore! His mom decides that they will spend the holidays with her family in Vermont. A dream of a simpler life is granted to Jamie and he is drawn into a sweet world where he makes good friends and where trust and kindness carry the day. Great story and lovely life lessons told in a quiet, understated manner with a little magic (and time travel)  thrown in for good measure.

You can win a copy of this engaging book (in time for Christmas, no less) by making a comment below. Thanks!

Winner will be chosen by super fun plug-in called And the Winner is… and your name will be posted here. You will be contacted by email as well by the publisher and they will mail the book to you. Good luck!

Author’s Websites: 
Melissa Ann Goodwin

The Christmas Village
Twitter: @GoodwinMelissa

The Author, Melissa Ann Goodwin now…




and then…

Melissa Gulley is the winner of The Christmas Village. She will receive an email from Women on Writing and they will send her a copy of this wonderful book!

Do I believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

Not particularly, and not, as you may think, because I can’t keep one, thank you very much. I don’t believe in them because I think it is an easy way to vaguely opt for healthier behavior(s) and give up on these resolutions just as vaguely and easily. Since most resolutions are broken (gross generalization, I know – write in if your experience is different), it is almost acceptable, if not expected, to break them.  Having said this, I am re-examining my goals for this year which include writing more and getting paid more to do so. Pretty basic, yes? Well, to that end I am restructuring my days and it is not an easy task (goodbye bon-bons and Oprah!). Just kidding!

Really, it is much more challenging to work from home than I realized. Distractions abound, from laundry to repair people to friends calling for lunch dates, sure, getting the kids places is easier but being distracted by children is a constant. Maybe an example will help.

Me: writing something on the desktop in the kitchen, child looking in fridge for a snack “Mom, where is the peanut butter?”

Me, matter-of-factly, “On the door of the fridge.”

Child, plaintively,  “No, it’s not.”

Me. patiently, “Look again, honey.”

Child, surprised,  “Oh. I found it!”

Me, wearily, “sigh” or something like that.

What am I doing? Holiday shopping, walking, reading, watching these music videos and NOT over-volunteering – read this

voluteer, NYT, too much volunteering, hanukah, music videos, adam sandler, matiyahu,maccabeats, candlelight, miracle, capabilitymom, best mom blog, boston mom blog,  Okay, I have gotten four gifts of the Anne Taintor Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again – notecards, post-it notes, a pin and a cute as anything bag. Then four different people told me about this article from The New York Times about Moms over-volunteering – Frazzled Moms Push Back Against Volunteering, I think I sense a theme – I’m quick like that.

So it isn’t just me – phew! – I thought I was a particular pushover (which is true but still) – I am glad to know I am not alone in feeling the pressure. So what am I doing to lessen this? Well, forgetting stuff helps. Seriously, I forgot to sign up for a recent event… so that really freed up some time! Really, I am re-thinking taking on a new (very involved) volunteer opportunity so I can make time for…other volunteer opportunities? No. Don’t get me wrong, I love to help out but sometimes it is too much. So, if you step back, evaluate if the task fits in with what you already have on your plate and then decide. I don’t do this, of course, which is why my friends are just shy of staging a volunteer intervention. But don’t go by me. Save yourself!

In the meantime I am writing a great joint post with Pragmatic Mom about holiday gifts for difficult to buy for people, I owe an article to KidoInfo on Traditions ( I haven’t forgotten – just over-booked!), meeting minutes to a committee and am working on an article on donuts (Sufganyiot – special Hanukah donuts). I have no business taking on one more thing.

So instead, I give you these wonderful music videos sent by friends who always knows about the coolest stuff first.

Classic – Adam Sandler’s Hanukah song

Amazing Maccabeats song (set to Taio Cruz’s Dynamite) Candlelight

and super talented Matsiyahu in  Miracle

I also really love this for Christmas. A group surprised shoppers at a mall with a beautiful performance of the Hallelujah Chorus in a Food Court!

The group called Random Acts of Culture has staged 68 random acts so far – They want to get to 1000 – Check it out here.

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