Kelly Flowers

writer


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Sincerely, Two-Faced Mom


I am a writer.

I am a mom.

I am either a great writer or a great mom. But rarely both. And it’s a tightrope of guilt.

At this point, I’ve whittled down all other hobbies/interests/passions because my hours are spoken for. Any chance I had of learning to paint is on the retirement hobby list now. And somehow, there’s still a shortage of hours in my day.

Let me say, my kids bring me great joy. Definitely. Of course. Most of the time.  Now that that’s out of the way, the truth is, I’ve never been ok with being just a mom. (I know, I know. Moms everywhere are rolling their judgy eyes. Just a mom?!?! I realize how it sounds) We aren’t supposed to admit it but motherhood is the termite of self-identity, niggling into our foundation and thinning us out.

Not that this is bad. Motherhood takes over because, many times, there’s nothing I’d rather do than roll on the floor with my two year old. Not do dishes, tone my abs or train for a marathon (haha. Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that stuff anyway.) and not write the next great American novel.

But it’s times like summer vacation when I realize how very contradictory my two passions are. Hmm, edit chapter 6 or get the wildling grommets out of the house before they start setting LEGO booby traps. 

(On that note, writing and a toned butt are also currently duking it out. Luckily, I hate exercise and could happily write and eat m&m’s for hours so it’s not much of a fight).

Can’t I be fun, energetic, tanned, active, involved mom but also be reclusive, obsessed, pale, moody writer? Gawwwd, Kelly! Step up your game.

And when is “being busy” an easy excuse for not applying myself to my work? And when is it ok to put a dream on hold to spin my wheels picking up toys, wiping noses and reading Little Blue Truck for the 1000th time? And shouldn’t I always be joyful to do these insanity-inducing motherhood tasks?  Because a truly great mother would. 🤨

Damn you, selfish self!

Btw, if anyone has any pearls of wisdom, lay em on me. Because sadly, this summer, I’m choosing great(ish) mom and by the time bedtime rolls around, I can’t even form full sentences.
Also, this is my summer reading… 😣

Those of you reading literary novels right now, I hate you.


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“Resolutions” Never Work

(I started this blog a couple of days ago and then, well… you know, I put it aside. Procrastination, you old nemesis! 2017 is going to be on your a$$!)

Pre-New Year’s Eve Post

Now is a good time to eat pie. Because pretty soon, my New Year resolutions won’t allow it. After the cooking and serving and saran-wrapping, you can’t see the fridge light. And then, eating leftovers becomes a bit of a goal. Each Tupperware emptied, an accomplishment. You can see how this line of thinking gets out of hand. I am nothing if not goal-oriented, for some suuuper important things, like emptying the fridge.

Soon will NOT be the time to eat pie, it will be to deny thyself. Whether it be donuts, laziness or procrastination, the New Year is about doing what you don’t want to do (like an early morning run) and not doing what you want to do (like eat ice cream and watch Westworld until 2am). Ah, the constant battle that divides doers and, well, non-doers.

I’m ready (after I finish this piece of pie) to hit the ground running. I’ll spend the next couple of days writing what I call resolutions but are really goals. There’s an important difference. Resolutions say “do better”. Goals say “here is a step to do better”. So I don’t do resolutions. I DO goals. But I really like the word “resolution” so I still use it.

Now it’s time to flurry into action putting away my Clark Griswold Christmas because 2017 doesn’t have room for that kind of chaos! Continue reading


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8 Ways To Work The Writing Critique Group

Teenagers and Writing Critique Groups = Creativity Killersscared-face

Remember being a teenager? It seemed you had to hide any bit of individuality from the mob of your peers and their judgy-ness.

Maybe that was just me. It wasn’t weird that I quoted Shakepeare, danced to swing music and carried vocabulary flashcards in my purse. No. Not weird.

I have teenagers now and guess what? They’re still judgy! And I’m still weird. (I’m told this constantly.) But now, I like my weird. We’ve grown attached to each other. We clique off and snicker about our critics. In my head, we ARE the popular kids.

I’m all grown up now. But writing critique groups can kill creativity in much the same way as the high school mean girls can.

The first time I went to a writers critique group. I was young, not much older than a teenager, really. The group met in an adorable bohemian café that had ombre walls, sold forty different types of tea and had jam poetry sessions that packed the place. This is being a writer, I said to myself. How romantic! Continue reading


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Sowing The Seeds Of A Novel – Writing and Gardening

Gardens are like books. Ok, gardens are not as delightful as books and, well, gardens have bugs soooo… 😕 But maintaining a garden is like writing a book because…

Both gardens and books need constant care to grow. I liken that perfect, red glittery strawberry to a jewel of an idea you get at 3am. You know you should stop what you’re doing and pick it/write it down but “meh.” You’re too tired.You’ll do it later. Then poof! You turn it over and the potato bugs have swiss-cheesed it. giphy

They both look easy, until you’re on your knees in aguish because grasshoppers have scarfed down your harvest or you discover that your protagonist is just boring.

Aaaand, if you garden (or write novels) only for food, you’re in the wrong business!

Way back when, I loved the idea of food being a simple equation. Seed – plant – stomach. Easy, right?

But after many moons of battling weeds and insects, I’ve realized three things:

1. I have not outgrown my childhood skittishness of all things crawly.  Continue reading


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How To Write Consistently – Location, Location, Location!

I once told a fellow writer that every time I sit down, I feel like a different person and my work reflects it. My multiple personalities bloat my writing with their twisted humor, inflated description, gushing prose or snarky syntax. Whoever shows up that day.

“It depends on how caffeinated I am or how quiet it is or whether my dishes are done,” I said wistfully. “How do I write an entire book if I can’t even keep my scattered brain in line?”

My friend replied, “What is your workspace like? Where do you normally write?” Errrr. I did that embarrassed side-pursed-lips thing that you do when someone asks what you do to workout, then replied, “Wherever I guess. Cafes, the library, bed, my kitchen table.” She nodded knowingly.

So, apparently we writers are supposed to keep our environment stable if we want the tone of our writing to be consistent. I hope not EVERYONE here is like “duh” because this had actually never occurred to me. It makes sense, I just thought it was one of those in your perfect world scenarios. Continue reading


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How Do I Stay Focused? No, Really. How?

From my Attention-Deficit brain to yours, a thoughtful Haiku for Monday…

Steaming coffee cup

A blank screen glows before me

Did I lock my car?

 

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Writing Lessons From My 4-Year-Old In A Whack-A-Mole World

The other day, my 4-year-old, to a room full of cousins and aunts and uncles, performed her song, an original masterpiece called “Flowers In The Field”.

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It went like this…

Flowers in the field

Where is everything that grows

A girl walks with her daddy

And picks a flower and the flower dies

But she puts it in water and it comes alive 

Flowers in the field

Flowers in the field 

I turned to my friend Neil and said, “Remember being that fearless about your own creativity? Brave enough to write a song and then sing it out for a room full of people?”

“No,” he said.

“Yeah. Me neither,” I replied.

But I was braver as a child. There’s proof. My first “publication” was a poem in my school yearbook. When running for Elementary School Treasurer (laughable, I know) I gave speeches off-the-cuff. And I sang in talent shows, LOTS of blood-curdling talent shows. Now, I can’t even drunk-karaoke without hyperventilating.

And why is that? Surely, I have a better vocabulary; can more likely carry a tune; and have a lot more thoughtful things to say. I just no longer have the guts to say them. What about growing up beat the bravery right out of me?

So, it got me thinking… How do we recreate the fearlessness we had as children?

3 solutions come up mind…

1. Always be amazing, superhuman – a genius even. Get all A’s. Problem solved.

2. Only show your work to people (like your doting parents, spouse, etc.) who will love you, praise you and top off your confidence cup, regardless of what you produce.

3. Just not care. Seriously. Sociopaths aren’t worried what other people think. Continue reading


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The 48 Hour Wedding (Also, Apparently I’m A Stress Junkie)

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Hot tub’s are just places where bad decisions are made. It wasn’t “Swimming Pool Time Machine” or “Couch Time Machine”. They knew what they were doing. Hot tubs are their own kind of transport, rife with half-baked schemes, incomplete epiphanies, insincere flattering and unreasonable promises (and usually a fuzzy enough memory to never learn).

Late at night, sipping something strong and looking at the stars, more things are possible. Like running, for instance.

“I swear,” you say in a staccato mash of words. “I’ll be up at 6am to run that 10k with you. I loooove running.” Bah!

A polar bear swim, that extra finger of Sailor Jerry (you know who you are), committing to a 6am 10k, writing a book, a fourth child. You know. Whatever.

But occasionally an intriguing idea actually pops up and whoever is present swats at it for awhile. (In my hot tub’s defense, much of my book has been concocted while sipping something strong and staring at the stars)

Last Friday, with my sister and her fiancé in town, we sat in the blue glow of the jacuzzi, ripe for making life-changing decisions. Out of the blue, my sister’s fiancé says “I want to get married. Like now.” And we laugh. Hahaha. Get married now? Haha.  You’re hilarious. But… “Would it be that crazy?” I say and we swat at the idea for a little bit.

The answer is yes. It would be crazy. 48 hours?! My kind of crazy. I was already planning a wedding in my head. You didn’t know I liked planning weddings, did you? It’s a little hobby I have.

This was on Saturday. Wedding day would be Monday, before they left town on Tuesday. Muahahaha! What a thrill.

Aaaaand 48 hours later, we were sipping champagne and giving cheesy, teary, impromptu speeches. Fondly admiring our masterpiece, shotgun wedding.


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Just Have Less Time – Stress, Day Drinking and Ninja Writing

The last 24 hours have been… well, let’s just say… I’m day drinking.  You want stress? Try herding 7 people, including an infant and toddler, through TSA airport security (only to have your 16 year old randomly pulled aside for secondary as she is EVERY time we travel. Profile a’ready. Just sayin’.) and onto a plane where everyone needs water, food, books and headphones all at once and you, (being the responsible traveller that you are) have them all packed in YOUR carry on.


Remember the scene in Home Alone where they leave the kid behind? I totally get that now.

So now, all 7 of us are turbulating (Yeah yeah. Not a word. Today it is.) over the country. The kids and bags are accounted for and everyone is either snoozing, watching frozen or obsessively playing solitaire. But not me. Nope. I have a sleeping 3 month old in my lap and one hand free so I am one-handedly (the left hand even) typing on my phone and glugging Cabernet.

Ninja writing like a boss! And you know what? I’ve been on fire this last week. My house is impeccable. My to do list is the shortest it’s been since… well… since the last time I left town. And I’ve managed to knock out the writing projects that keep getting pushed to the next list and the list after that because, what the hell, right? May as well leave with every ball out of my court. And besides schlepping two carts of luggage and a straggling crew through the entire terminal, I’d say I’m only a 6 on the stress Richter scale.

I think I’ve discovered a new theory on life management.

HAVE LESS TIME.

The last week wouldn’t have been as productive if I didn’t have an impending absence because I would’ve undoubtedly mosied through my list while intermittently snapchatting or trolling Instagram. (The jury is still out on whether these things can be considered productive on some level. How else would I know what “ish” is or what Gigi Hadid had for breakfast? Who gets to say which information is valuable?)

So yeah. Have less time. (Disclaimer: writer is unaware of long term affects of this theory. Please day drink responsibly.)

ninja