Greetings from Panem!

It’s been a tough week for Jenny the writer, mostly because it’s been a big week for Jenny the public speaking coach. I’ve led four days of presentation skills training in Monterrey, Mexico this week. I left for the job early on Sunday morning. I’ll be getting home Friday night. I’ve been working long days. I have a cold. And I’m tired.

Wah, wah, wah.

I’m not as tired, of course, as J-Law‘s character in The Hunger Games. And the Panem I’m visiting happens to be a charming upscale panaderia in one of the nicest parts of Monterrey. I’ve loved working here this week. And I’m earning a nice paycheck for my efforts.

But I’m feeling haggard, nonetheless. And discouraged. When will I get this writing life thing right?

I was reading one of those encouraging self-helpy emails I get, scanning it with half-closed eyes last night before I fell asleep. The email’s writers suggested that we need rituals to get the important things done, their more soulful way of saying that we need habits or a schedule or structure. (So, like my mother always told me, just not quite as annoying.)

After this totally exhausting week, I’m not even sure what to say about that.


Really, I did not indulge in drinks at “The Embassy.” Though I did have some crispy fish tacos. Hey, a writer’s got to eat.

Without a doubt, I intended to get work done. I intended to wake up early and do some writing. I intended to come back to my hotel room and research submission opportunities.

That hasn’t happened.  And it’s not because I’ve been slacking off, lying by the pool and sipping margaritas.

This has been one of the main challenges of my adult life, one I’m sure other writers do a better job of managing. My paying work has a way of upending my writing work. So I wonder, is a “ritual” of writing every day possible? Or is it akin to dieting–setting yourself up to become a disappointment and to feel like a failure?

But, optimist that I am, I still hope to salvage the week–on the long plane ride home tomorrow. Maybe writing on planes can be my ritual.


2 thoughts on “Greetings from Panem!

  1. What was it that Ernest Hemingway said? “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” In our creative writing workshops, we always talked about overcoming writer’s block….ever hear of the Surrealists and automatic writing? Turn the faucet on; at first the water comes out gurgling and rusty, but keep it going and it will turn clear and flow. Maxine Kumin also said (something to this effect) “we need to carve our creative time in small, hard chips.” YES. By the way, I read your poem in Jenny. 💫👍👌🏼💫😀


    • Kris! Thanks so much for reading and sending encouragement. I don’t worry about not being able to find words to write but about finding time/ability/will to stay awake to do it during these hard work weeks–which I guess IS a kind of writer’s block. (And as I write these words, I realize I could find 15 minutes if I were a little more determined. So there you have it.)


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