Writing And Not Writing ~ Life in the Real World

As much as we love to write, it’s important to take breaks — to live your life and have new experiences, and to reflect and recharge so you can come back to your desk, ready to hit the keyboard again. Not writing allows you to gain the distance from your words, and thus perspective, which are both needed when it’s time to edit.

Being active every day makes it easier to hear that inner voice.

— Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Write every day, but don’t put your life on hold . . .

— Vincent Mars, “Writing as a Way of Life”

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

Today, publish your post in any form you wish, as long as you focus on one or all of these questions.

You have an additional task for the day. Reach out to someone for an interview or collaboration. This person can be a Blogging 101 participant, a blogger on WordPress.com or another platform, or someone else whose work you admire. Need ideas? Here are examples to consider:

Interviews: Leanne Cole talks to fellow photographers in her Introductions series; Tessa Love publishes Q&As with wanderers at Wander Home.
Writer/artist partnerships: Shelley Sackier and Robin Gott join forces at Peak Perspective; John Kelly showcases his brother Andrew’s sketches at Mashed Radish.
Themed submissions: Diahann Reyes at Stories From the Belly invited two of her favorite bloggers to contribute to a post on “baring the female breasts.”
When you think of someone, reach out via their contact page. If they don’t offer a way to contact them on their blog, try on Twitter or Facebook. If it’s not obvious how to contact them, you might have to find an alternative.

For planning purposes, this post is meant to run on Day 19 of our course. We encourage you to start right away, so you have enough lead time to prepare a draft. (We’ll also provide an alternate prompt for those who choose not to participate — but we hope you will!)

Cheri and the WordPress.com Team

What do I do when I’m not writing?

Well I guess the thing that take the most time away from writing is work.
When you think about it, one sleeps around 8 hours a night; I’m stretching here, it’s more like 6 these days but let’s say we catch up over the weekend ;-). I know I do. At an average of 8 hours of sleep we have 16 hours in a day, which makes 112 hours a week to do things. And 2 hours a day on average I dedicate to writing. Sometimes more but sometimes less. Essentially I’ve got 98 hours to do other things.

Out of these hours, 40 hours – 8 per day – are spent at work. And that’s because I’m lucky France has a 7 hour day + 1 hour lunch because when I was in Canada I used to work between 10 and 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Not that I really wanted to but some of my staff had been granted special privileges and as long as they remained productive and successful there was no reason for me to deny these privileges. I worked hard but they paid me back tenfolds in loyalty and success.
Anyway I digress already. So 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for a total of 40 hours of work. It is a third of your life. Makes you think. That leaves me with 58 hours. There’s so much one can do in that time and yet it seems like so little most days.

When I’m not writing I sing.
I’ve been singing since 1991 in various choirs and groups for my own pleasure. I was part of a high school production of Porgy and Bess and of a community theatre production of My Fair Lady in 2011 and I had an absolute blast both times. I was given the opportunity when in Limerick to sing as part of the Music Department choir something I still am honoured by. These students had perfect pitch and I didn’t. They were patient enough to give me the time to learn the music when they figured it out in less than an hour. I think I had a wonderful progression there. It’s from that time that I’ve been able to figure out my music faster. And I had the chance to sing with very talented ladies and gents in Toronto. I should thank my singing teacher there Elizabeth for inviting me to be a part of the Sirens. These were 6 years of wonderful experiences.
I’ve sung diverse repertoires and I can still sing the very first part I ever learned for a choir from Jean Philippe Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes when I was 10 years old. I’ve sang classical repertoire – Rameau, Messiaen, Bach, Offenbach – hymns and chants, religious songs and musical theatre. Since I came back to Paris, my new teacher is trying to open new doors for me by singing some more modern, pop music allowing me to expand my repertoire. In fact he’s refused to let me sing musical theatre repertoire, which is probably a good exercise.

Completely bound to the fact that I’ve been singing and exposed to music from a young age, when I’m not writing I’m enjoying live performances.
I shared some images of concerts my husband and I have been to at the new Philharmonie de Paris in the past year. We went to see Platee by Jean Philippe Rameau at the Opera Garnier a couple of weeks ago and we had a subscription to both the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Grands Ballets Canadiens of Montreal when we lived there. We could be found at least once a month either at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra or at a Mirvish Production when we were in Toronto. I’m also a huge jazz fan and trying to learn to play the saxophone but I still haven’t found the place in Paris. I haven’t searched diligently mind you.

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I love art in many shapes and form.
We have attended a couple of live shows at the Comedie Francaise (theatre) with the 5€ tickets and as we were subscribers to the TSO and the likes, we were members of the Montreal Museum of Modern Art (so amazing that a subscription is only 5$) and of the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. I don’t have photos of them because it’s forbidden to take pictures of the artwork in these museums, which is a shame. My birthday present was actually a membership at the Louvre, so you’ll find me there not as often as I’d like but yes. I am actually working on a story inspired by one of the pieces I saw there and I shared one yesterday. It needs some work but I’ll get it right. The statue that inspired the second story I’ll show you a photo of when I publish it 😉 . Paris has so many museums and special places to visit that are works of art in their own right. From the Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame to the new Louis Vuitton Foundation building and the Palais de Tokyo – even the Opera Bastille, it’s a feast for the eyes. We are the lucky ones. Some samples of Paris’ treasures.

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I’m not even going to start on reading… it would take a post of its own and even a thousand words wouldn’t cover it. So let it just be said that I tend to read 4 books at once and I can read three books a week. I swallow words. Love reading. Always have. A complete book junkie. My escape…

And finally… I love being in nature. That’s the one thing from Canada that I miss the most. Getting lost in the middle of perfect natural beauty. There’s nothing like this here. From Killarney to Algonquin Park in Ontario or the Eastern Townships in Quebec or the Rockies in Alberta and British Columbia. Two years from now, definitely planning a camping trip somewhere. I love it. And a piece of my heart will always belong there. So when I go on vacation or out of the city, I search for that natural respite. Another sample: from Provence to the Grand Canyon, Mother Earth has so much beauty to offer if we only care to look. It’s not something I do on a daily basis of course, but it is something I need at least once or twice a year, disconnecting completely. No internet, no cell phone. It’s magical. No longer completely true in Provence but still easily found there.

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There you have it, that’s a long one and I guess that tells you quite a lot about me 😉


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