March Madness Check-In (day 18)

My hubby and I were out for dinner with friends tonight (Monday), at a pub-style restaurant that was all gorgeous wood, stone fireplace, and loads of windows that faced the sea. Part-way through our meal, someone spotted a shiny black dorsal fin in the water, and then another, and we all abandoned our food to stand at the windows and watch the orcas (who were likely tracking down their own dinner — we also saw sea lions that, to the orcas, probably looked like a pretty good entrée). And now as I write this, I’m reminded of another time I saw orcas during March Madness

Driving home from doing my errands a few days ago, I was stopped by a flagperson where they’re working on the road. And so of course, while I waited, I turned my attention from the road to the ocean beside it, and THERE WAS A POD OF ORCAS OUT THERE!! I pulled out of the traffic line, got out, and watched the whales go by. There were four or five of them — sleek black bodies shining in the sun when they surfaced, dorsal fins appearing, disappearing, appearing again.

I know the Orcas hang around here from time to time, or pass through when following their dinner along Discovery Passage, and with how often I’m at the beach you’d think I would’ve seen them before. Nope. I always missed ‘em. The thing is, there’s just no way to know when exactly they’ll make an appearance. Sure, like now when the herring are running, you know the odds are good they’ll be there, looking for an easy meal. But will they surface where you are, right when you’re looking? Maybe not this time, or next time. But I figure if you spend enough time by the ocean, eventually you get to see them. And it’s awesome!

So, what does my Orca sighting have to do with March Madness? Just this: show up, and keep showing up – do the work, get the words down – because you never know when the magic will happen. But it will.

My plan is to keep showing up. I admit it’s been a bit of a rocky March Madness journey for me this year: I’ve done some battle with discouragement and self-doubt, and I’ve spent some time wandering in the between-projects wilderness. But I remember the magic — those times when you lose yourself in story, or the words flow, or a truth emerges from the struggle in a grand epiphany, or you simply have a blast. I remember that kind of magic, and I’m going to keep showing up and doing the work because I believe that magic will happen again.


How about you? Are you managing to “show up” and work toward your goals? How’s it going today? Whether you’re zooming along at an insane pace or just picking yourself up, dusting off, and starting again, KEEP GOING. Keep showing up. When we get to the end of the month, you’re going to be SO GLAD you kept moving forward toward those goals. You know we’re cheering for you!


(I love that minion who is positively vibrating with enthusiasm!)

Okay, my Madnificents, you know what time it is…


It’s desk dance party time!

Now go forth and chase down those goals! :D Here’s to finding magic in the midst of Madness….

Check in tomorrow at Shana’s blog. (Please note, I’ll be sleeping post-nightshift most the day, and back to work in the evening, so I won’t be around the blog much to reply. But I promise to catch up!)

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26 thoughts on “March Madness Check-In (day 18)

  1. Candilynn Fite-Writer

    There are days, more often than not, that simply showing up is half the battle for me. Forcing myself to the computer, opening my wip, and clicking away on the keyboard. Once I’m there, the magic unfolds.

    Hope you get some rest after your nightshift, Shari. :)

    Write on, Wipsters~

    1. Angelina C. Hansen

      Been showing up every day. Today’s amazing gift was waking up to birdsong and a full moon out my bedroom window. Feel like this horrid head cold is finally abandoning me. I hope. Lots of time to write this morning. ^+^ Sleep well, Shari. Dream of pods of orcas.

      1. Shari Green Post author

        So glad the cold is finally departing! And what a lovely way to wake up. I love hearing all the birds reminding me that spring really is on its way.

        Hooray for showing up. I hope your writing time went well this morning. :)

    2. Shari Green Post author

      Yes, showing up really is half the battle (or sometimes three-quarters, lol). If we can just make ourselves start the work, the work often becomes play. ;)

  2. denisejaden

    Good word, Shari. Showing up. And glad to hear you have been doing that, regardless of self-doubt and discouragement, because those things will always try to bring us down, at every stage of the journey. I think what gets better is our ability to work past those things, put them aside, and know that we are not alone in facing them.

    I’m taking a business day today. I just have too much to catch up on and it’s weighing on me. Plus I have a bookstore visit down in Seattle later today, so it’s really only a half-day for me. I’m looking forward to being back in the writing saddle tomorrow…

    1. Shari Green Post author

      The not-alone part really helps. :)

      Happy catch-up day. It always feels good to get those necessary but less fun things taken care of. And yay for your bookstore visit! I hope you have a great time!

  3. Stacy Kupiec

    Someday, I’m going to buy a little cottage by the ocean and set up a room with a window that overlooks it. Not to write in though. It would probably have to be a bathroom. ;) Seriously, though. I guess I’m bogged down enough with life (and 5 kids) that writing is my escape. I look forward to it. I long for it. I get grouchy when I get interrupted. Not that I would do it all day, if I had the chance, I just feel so accomplished when I’m sitting at my desk and punching away on the keys, watching my thoughts form into scenes.

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Wouldn’t a cottage by the sea by wonderful?! *happy sigh*

      I totally get the “writing as an escape” (said the mom of four to the mom of five). And I think I’m probably not so pleasant to live with when I’m not writing, lol. Here’s to carving out and keeping sacred our time to write. Cheers!

  4. Kim Clarke Harbridge

    A writing teacher once told me that she and most of the writers she knew still had days where it was a struggle to produce even one line, one sentence, one paragraph. I think she meant it to be comforting, to help me realize that I wasn’t the only special snowflake who had bad writing days, but at the time my take-away was “wait, this terrible thing I am experiencing will never go away, no matter how much more experience I gain or how much better my writing gets!?” It seriously took me years to realize that days like that aren’t what define me or my writing unless I let them stop me from showing up at my desk the next day. My WIP has been in various states of chaos for the last five years, and I kept giving up on it after only a few chapters. But yesterday I FINISHED the first draft, mostly because I just kept powering through when it felt like the magic had died. And my brain is already whirring away about how to make the second draft better, coming up with ideas I never would have had if I’d given up at chapter three yet again. Sometimes showing up really is half the battle.

    Thanks for hosting today, and I hope you get your magic back soon!

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Woohoo!!! Congrats on finishing your draft! That’s awesome! :D

      I think I’ve made peace with the fact that it doesn’t get easier, lol. For me, it’s vital to keep in touch with the joy of writing, remembering the reasons I love it and the reasons I want to do it despite how very hard it can be at times. So, here’s to showing up and finding joy (and maybe even magic). Have fun with the second draft!

  5. elderfox

    Boy Shari you sure know how to wake up a wanna-be from the doldrums :) I’ve got all the time I want/need to getter done and nothin’, nil, nada. With the good Lord’s grace I’m 82 and you’d think there would be wellsprings of laughter and sadness, a
    reservoir of knowledge. Nope. It’s like casting a “sprat” to catch a whale :) Besides which I’ve had a reader who told me I was “vain” to think anyone cared” which appar-
    ently damned the floodgates. But late is better than never… thanks for the helpful reminders. mE

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Ugh, so sorry about that thoughtless comment from a reader. Don’t let that person have the final say! Keep writing! (And yes, late is better than never. ;) )

      I really believe that if we care about our characters and our stories, someone else will care about them, too — like, if it matters to you, odds are it will matter to someone else. We humans are not so different from one another as we might think… and stories help us see and feel our connectedness in a way that nothing else can. Your stories matter!

  6. baccelliak

    OMG, this is so me today. My 4 year old laptop is just about to die so I need to have it plugged in to work. Of course today, after getting on my 12 year old to hurry up for his classes, I forgot it. Since I commute, I couldn’t do any writing. Sigh. I was able to finish reading a book and handwrite out a review that I posted when I got home.

    Later, my critique buddy asked how I was doing and we brainstormed a difficult scene in my revision. But I did make a goal that I need to work at least one hour tonight before I watch StarCross on CW.

    1. Shari Green Post author

      My laptop is the same…could die at any moment, lol. Glad you were able to make good use of the time and get that review done, and hooray for critique partners who help brainstorm!

      I hope your writing goes well tonight. :)

  7. Jenn

    Wow, first check-in in over a week!! Had the flu last week, and despite getting myself back on the exercise and work wagon, the writing wagon has been slow to get going. I’ve noted where things in my WIP need expanding, clarification, and just general work – now I need to do the work. It’s writing group night, so here’s hoping some actual work gets done!

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Sorry to hear you’ve been sick. Ugh! Sounds like you’re ready to leap back onto the writing wagon now, though — having that “mulling time” can really get us ready to go when we’re finally able to get back to writing. I hope you get lots done tonight! Have fun! :D

  8. laurasheanataylor

    Well, I “showed up” to the bar … ;)

    In all seriousness, I attended another write-in at a tavern which is quite open to having writers with laptops (not the least because a certain SIWC presenter tends bar there), and worked more on my outline and brainstorming for this novel I plan to write during Camp NaNo next month. I love the ideas I’m getting and the connections I’ve made, because in the end I think it will make for a better story.

    At the same time, I also had a nice dinner and drinks with another MM participant there. And lots of great conversation. :)

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Haha, yay you for showing up at the bar. ;) But seriously, that sounds like an awesome evening — brainstorming, and being excited about your story, and having a great visit with a fellow Mad person…productive and fun! Score!

  9. girlparker

    I love the desk dancing, Shari!! I can’t even explain how life has exploded here, but my characters are percolating nicely and my outline is growing. That has to be enough for now – just a little bit per day. =)

    1. Shari Green Post author

      That’s the cool thing about a writer’s brain — even when we can’t write, we’re writing! Percolating time is so essential to my process, so if you’re anything like me, this is not at all lost time. You’re accomplishing much, even though you don’t get to quantify it with a word count. ;) That said, I do hope life settles down for you soon. Dance out any stress, and hang in there!

  10. Carol

    “A day late and a dollar short!” Isn’t that the saying? In my case it’s a day late and a chapter short!! LOL. I really didn’t accomplish much during these past couple days, but I guess that’s no excuse to avoid checking in. I got a bit done Tuesday night, and a bit more this afternoon, but tonight (Wednesday) seems to be a washout. Got home from my choir practice and have no energy left to write. I’m counting on tomorrow being much more productive if I get a good night’s sleep instead of sitting here staring at my monitor!

    I loved hearing your account of the orcas. They’re so amazing to watch. One day you’ll be wandering the beach with camera in hand and it will be “the” right moment to catch them on film. The analogy is true, too. You keep showing up, ready to put in the time and work, and when the moment is right, the words will be there, splashing all over the page.

    1. Shari Green Post author

      Re: a day late… Better late than never, and I’ll be happy to give you a loonie. I’m afraid I don’t have any chapters to spare at the moment, though. ;)

      I hope today’s turning out to be a good writing day for you! Thanks for checking in. :)

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