The Year is Half Over, What Have You Done?

On Saturday I woke up to the realization that the year is half over. And what have I done?

Well, I’ve had a lot of fun.

I’ve been to a bunch of Happy Hours with my girlfriends. (I almost never go out to dinner, but I am the queen of Happy Hour.)

I’ve done some cool hikes with my husband.

Sunday we went here.

Malibu hike Charmlee Wilderness Park
A beautiful hike through Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu

I’ve been to a bunch of concerts and country music festivals.

Brandy Clark. Coastal Country Jam featuring Jake Owen. Jay Nash, Tony Lucca & Matt Duke. (OMG – if you have a chance to see these guys – just one or all three together DO IT. They are amazing.) Stagecoach. U2. Oakheart Festival. Boots and Brews.

U2 Joshua Tree Tour Stage
U2 Joshua Tree Tour. I’ve seen U2 at least 10 times. I’d gladly see them 1,000 more.

Four festivals and three concerts are more shows that some people will see in a lifetime I realize, but those are not my people. God that sounded super assholey, didn’t it? That was not my intent. I’m super grateful to have gone to these shows. And I’ve got more on the way this year.

Hall & Oates with Tears for Fears (OMG!) Adam Ant (OMFG!) Green Day (Finally!) Thomas Rhett with Old Dominion & Walker Hayes (Cannot effing wait). And something called Retro Futura with Howard Jones, the English Beat and a bunch of other 80’s throwbacks. (Bought for a steal on Groupon – going with Dave and the kids. Should be a blast.)

So yes, it has been and will be a good year for music. Because live music more than anything is what makes me feel so alive. And young. (Seriously, so fucking young.)

And fun is great. Important, even. But I have goals this year that I have not achieved. I wanted to interview more artists like I did last year with Matthew Ramsey of Old Dominion and Matthew Nelson of Nelson. But I haven’t. Because that takes effort and I’ve been busy with a new(ish) job and life and just trying to keep all my balls in the air.

You know. Like everyone else.

I’ve only written seven blog posts all year. And maybe two newsletters (which you should totally sign up for because I obviously won’t overwhelm your inbox and you get a free book. Or rather bookette).

I did write this piece for my friend Jessica’s blog that I’m quite proud of, but only because she asked. And really. It was just a reworking of a piece I’d already written.

And my WIP – the sequel to Frosted Cowboy. LOFuckingL. I have an outline (ish). It’s actually a great story (at least that’s what everyone I’ve told the plot to says), even better than the first. And I’ve written some of it, obviously. But. But. What?

I’m just busy.

And lazy.

And so damn scared.

Because writing is so hard. And what if it’s terrible? (And like any first draft, it is so terrible.)

So, sure. I’ve had some goals. But I haven’t really had a plan. And  A goal without a plan is just a wish. I read that on Pinterest. Or maybe it was Twitter. One of those very philosophical websites.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Saturday as I was cleaning that pile off my dining room table I came across an article I ripped out of Sunset Magazine by Anne Lamott called Time lost and found. And even though I was “so busy” and I’ve read it at least a dozen times before, I knew that this article about finding time to write was exactly what I needed and I sat down and read it again and it made me cry.

Because Anne Lamott knows the truth.

It’s so easy to make excuses. To be too busy to write. Busy job. Busy social life. Keeping all those balls in the air.

I’m not going to stop going to concerts or hiking with my husband or (god forbid) Happy Hour.

But what if I didn’t work through lunch every day. Or let one of those balls drop? (Or two? Or three? Or four?)

What if when I get up at 5AM (and I do, every single day) I actually write a blog post? Or contact a musician’s publicist? Or stopped being so scared to tackle my WIP?

Maybe in six month’s time – when the year is completely over, I’ll have done more than just have fun. More than just work. I’ll have created.

And my year will be one that was not half-lived.


*The quote “A goal without a dream is just a wish” is attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupery (but you can find it on Pinterest). 




Do you use quotes? (I don’t mean when you are writing dialog – those are quotation marks silly!)

No, what I mean is, are there quotes from books or movies or (gasp) even TV shows that just resonate with you or have even become part of your family vernacular? Or maybe there is a song lyric (or two) that just speaks to you.

Last week Mama Kat had a writing prompt to list 6 of your favorite quotes but I chose to write about facing a fear instead.

But I’ve been thinking about this prompt because there are quotes that I love. Probably because I love words so much. Sometimes I read words that are so beautiful I can almost feel them in my mouth weighing down on my tongue. I like to hold them there like I would a sip of a bold Cabernet and taste their deliciousness.

I like different quotes for different reasons. Some quotes inspire me. Some quotes are funny. Others make me cry.

Every once in a while one of my friends will say, “And to quote Charlene…” And that makes me feel special. That I said something worth remembering. Worth repeating.

Forever in search of the right word

My favorite quote about writing is this one from Mark Twain…

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

So true. Writing is hard people. At least writing well. I have literally spent hours trying to perfect a phrase or a paragraph (not on my blog obviously) that isn’t coming together the way I heard it in my head. But when it comes – that word that puts it all together, makes it right, makes it flow… That is nothing short of magic. And truly makes all the difference in the world.

Anne Lamott, photo credit James Hall

Another quote about writing I love is from a Sunset Magazine article called Time Lost and Found by Anne Lamott. In this article Lamott tells about teaching writing and how she tries to impress upon her students that if they want to write they need to stop making excuses and make time to do it.

“Can’t they give up the gym once a week and buy two hours’ worth of fresh, delectable moments? (Here they glance at my butt.)”

I cannot tell you how many times I think of this quote. (Mostly when I’m skipping the gym so I can write.) But making time for everything except writing is so easy. Because writing is hard. (See above.)

So the next time you see me and think to yourself that my jeans are looking a little tight, it’s not because I’ve been blowing off the gym, it’s because I’m taking the time to write. (At least that’s the story I’m sticking with!)

Be the change…

A quote that inspires me and one that I try to live by is from Mahatma Gandhi…

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

‘Nuff said!


And to show you that I’m not really a deep thinker (though I’m pretty sure you already know that) here is a quote from David Lee Roth…

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”

I’ve written before about how I don’t believe that money can buy you happiness. (And I don’t.) But I’ll be honest. I’ve had money and I’ve not had money and all things being equal – having money is better. (A lot better…)

If you have not read this book you must!

From the book The Girls by the awesome Lori Lansens…

“I don’t want to learn, I just want to know.”

I may not have this quote 100% right (I’ve loaned my book out so I can’t check) but it’s close enough – you get the picture. The Girls is one of my favorite books and this quote stuck with me because it reminds me so much of my daughter Marley. (And perhaps, ahem… maybe more of me than I like to admit.) The coolest thing ever is that some time after reading this book I met Lori (she lives in my town – how random is that?!) and we became friends. I told Lori about how much I loved this quote because of it reminding me of Marley and she said is was inspired by her daughter. (Lori and I have spent a lot of time talking about the similarities of our very spirited daughters!)

Please ignore my unkempt backyard.

“Eat Drink and be Merry”

I have this plaque hanging over my kitchen window. Yeah, like I said, I’m not very deep – but seriously… this quote says it all doesn’t it? Because what is life if you can’t Eat Drink and be Merry? I, for one, do not want to find out.

I’d love to know – what is your favorite quote?

yacht photo courtesy of  Yorick R via Creative Commons