Thursday, August 14, 2014

My First Writing Sabbatical by Dean K Miller

Dean will be giving away a copy of And Then I Smiled to one U.S. or Canada resident who leaves a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday August 17, 2014. Winner to be announced on Monday. Look for Dean's next book titled, Echoes: Reflections Through Poetry and Verse in mid-September. Visit www.hotchocolatepress.com or Dean's website for release information.


Dean is a freelance writer and member of Northern Colorado Writers. His work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, TROUT magazine, Torrid Literature Journal and other literary magazines. His essays won three separate contests at www.midlifecollage.com.
For 26 years, Miller has kept the skies safe as an air traffic controller for the FAA and received the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Northwest Mountain Region 2010 Archie League Safety Award. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing and he is an avid supporter and volunteer for the veteran’s support group Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their two dogs, Bear and Snickers.
Dean K Miller's Author website
Twitter:  @deankmiller


My First Writing Sabbatical by Dean K Miller

I enter my hotel room in Shenandoah, TX. It is modernized late ‘70s, only because they’ve removed the avocado green from the decor. Orange, gold, and red tones dominate the furnishings and floors. The shower curtain logo says it all: “wake up on the bright side.”™ There is no other option. On the plus side, the slight musty smell is definitely early ‘90s. Regardless, I am full of anticipation, for the next three days this is not only my home, but site of my first writing sabbatical. I plan hours of uninterrupted writing around my daughter’s swim meet, which is why I’m in town.
Finally, I am ready to begin, except the hotel’s Wi-Fi has dumped. That means no access to Hearts of Space, my favorite writing music. As the ever-prepared traveler, I have a back-up plan. Out comes my IPOD and I fire up MS Word on my laptop. Who needs the Internet anyway?
I settle into the orange mesh “office” chair and gaze across the room at the large red lounge chair. Hmmm…That might be more comfortable. Too late; I’ve already set up my writer’s station: Inspirational chips and salsa, enjoyed with a fine 5.5 ounce plastic bottle of Chardonnay that’s chilling in a Styrofoam cup. Can it get any better?
But then, Jams from “tech support” calls. Okay, that’s not his name, but it’s short for “Just a minute, Sir,” which he states repeatedly. Emboldened by my half-cup of wine (so delectable in a foam cup fresh from its plastic wrapper) I politely end the call. I haven’t time for this. I’m a writer on sabbatical. There are words shouting to be heard on screen. If I need Internet service, I’ll get it at Starbucks. I’d been there twice already.
The internet problem did get solved, and over the next 72 hours I enjoyed long blocks of solitary writing time. I used most of it wisely and moved my works-in-progress forward. I also finished off the bag of chips, ninety percent of the salsa, four bags of microwave popcorn and the remaining three mini bottles of wine (thank God for twist-tops.)
Despite my last hour of writing being repeatedly interrupted by the maintenance man trying to shut off the bathtub hot water, I’ve written well and learned several valuable lessons. These include, but are not limited to: (1) long periods of solitary writing time are invaluable; (2) I have the discipline to sit and write; (3) focusing on one project at a time works better (for me) than scatter braining four simultaneously; and finally, (4) that I enjoy wine from small plastic bottles.
I am already looking forward to my daughter’s next travel swim meet. I hope she’s as happy with her results from this trip as I am with mine.



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Dean’s debut book: And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete contains over 50 personal essays and stories along with 10 original poems. The essays and poems, “. . . find grace in life’s simplest moments and transport readers on journeys ranging from beaches, mountain streams, city parks and to destinations in realms we seldom visit, both inside and outside the physical world. Seemingly average moments of life create the backdrop for Miller’s keen observations and discoveries, touching on various facets of life, family, nature and the energy that surrounds us.”

7 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That you now know you like wine from tiny bottles is hilarious!

Dean K Miller said...

Greetings from across the "border" Alex and thanks for stopping by. Sometimes writers do what it takes to stay inspired.

Dean K Miller said...

Good morning Leanne and thanks for hosting me today.

So what do you think, readers? Have you taken a writing sabbatical? Successful? Fun? Ever go again?

Let me know. I look forward to your comments. And don't forget, one lucky reader who leaves a comment will win a copy of "And Then I Smiled...."

Leanne Dyck said...

Good morning, Dean.
Yes, I've gone on a writing sabbatical. It was on a remote island--no, not the one I live on. : ) And it came complete with an opportunity to have a blue pencil critique with an established author as well as a chance to socialize with other authors. And fun was had by all.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Hi Dean, I took a writing sabbatical once--a long, long time ago. Went to Surfside Beach, TX and holed up in a little trailer offered to me as a writing retreat and cranked out a novel. When I got back home, I learned my roomie had stolen my boyfriend! :) And that novel never sold. These days, I stay close to home and hubby, and go no further than the library for my writing retreats. :) Enjoyed the post.

Dean K Miller said...

Jessie: Wow...that's a story I hope never to top. Maybe a second look at the novel? It might be time.
Thanks for stopping by.

Dean K Miller said...

Congrats to Jess, "Jessie" Jessy for winning "And Then I Smiled," via this blog page. Your book will be sent out soon!