Monday, January 19, 2015

Get Outta That Parking Lot


Have you ever found yourself driving along, head in the clouds, and suddenly realized you have no idea where you are?

I sure have. I blink, look around, and wonder where I am. Have I missed my exit? Where am I even going? Why am I parked in front of Trader Joe's? Wasn't I going to the hardware store five miles away?
(Photo by Carol Newman)

It can happen when we're driving. It can happen when we're writing.

Recently a friend told me she had thought she finished writing her life story only to realize some important chunks about relationships and experience had been overlooked in the writing.

It isn't a catastrophe. If you are driving, you consult your map or GPS or the sun or moon or stars, or in my case, maybe even call Gentleman Friend. You discover you have parked yourself in the wrong place.

You back out of the parking space, turn the car the correct direction, your GPS says "Recalculating. Recalculating."

That's what you do with the writing, too. Recalculate. It helps if you do it along the way. From time to time, look at that list of stories you planned to include. (You did make a list didn't you? A physical list on paper or your phone? Or a mental list?)

If you don't have a list, make one now. You won't be setting it in stone. It is just a reminder to help guide you along the way. I want to write about moving to Albuquerque, the principal at the school where I taught, Aunt Myrtle's chickens. 

As you are driving, maybe you decide not to go to the hardware store today. As I am writing, maybe I decide to eliminate Aunt Myrtle's chicken story.

It's up to you. But be sure it is up to you. Have some kind of writing plan and consult it from time to time.

(Photo by Carol Newman)
Otherwise, you might find yourself in a parking lot before you reach your destination saying, "Huh, where am I? Where am I going? Seems like I forgot something."


Make a list of the stories you have written. Where are gaps in time, person or place? Fill in those gaps with stories you want to add.

If you haven't started writing yet, make a list of stories you want to include in your total narrative.

Always keep in mind, you don't have to include your entire life story. You can select stories by theme or special events. For example, one gentleman in a class wrote about his years growing up in India. A woman wrote about her year on a mission trip. Life story doesn't mean entire life.


Crunch, chocolate. These homemade Twix bars have it all. Recipe is from Stephanie Manley from
Copy Kat.

how to make a twix bar
(Photo from
·         Shortbread cookies
·         1/2 pound butter (unsalted)
·         1/2 cup powdered sugar
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         2 cups flour
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         1 1/2 cups caramel baking chips
·         2 cups chocolate chips
·         1/4 cup coconut oil
Cookie Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer cream together room temperature butter and powdered sugar for about 2 minutes or until the butter and sugar are light and creamy. Add in 2 cups of flour and beat gently until flour is incorporated to the creamed sugar. Add in vanilla and mix until just blended. When the dough has turned into a soft uniform ball turn dough onto a lightly floured board.
Roll dough into a rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 4 even verticals and then cut them horizontally in about 1/2 inch stripes. Use a fork to prick the cookies about three or four times a cookie so they will bake evenly. Place cookies onto an un-greased cookie sheet leaving a small distance between each cookie. Refrigerate cookies on the cookie sheet for about 15 minutes before baking the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. By refrigerating the dough you will keep them from spreading out too much.
Melt caramel bits in the microwave for about 45 seconds, or until melted. Spread a thin layer of caramel over the baked cookies.
Over a double boiler melt together 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of coconut oil Stir continually until the chocolate has melted. When the chocolate has melted dip a cookie into the chocolate, turn cookie over with two folks until the cookie is fully coated. Place chocolate dipped cookie onto wax paper. Allow the chocolate to set up fully before storing cookie in an air tight container.


Since "hack," meaning "tip," is getting overworked these days, I think I will jump on the cliche bandwagon.

Find more life story writing hacks at.Angel in Your Inkwell.

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