Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guest Post and Giveaway: To Do List? Make That a "To Be" List



Please give a warm welcome to author Mindy Friddle, who is guest posting today for So a Blonde Walks Into a Review as part of a Wow! Women On Writing tour.

There's also a fun "Seedy Characters" giveaway in celebration of Mindy's latest book Secret Keepers, so be sure to read to the end!


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Are you a list maker? I am. I write and rewrite lists on stickie notes, deposit slips, notebooks, and--on rare occasions, when I'm feeling organized--I sign up for some new free software that promises to help you prioritize. It's the kind of task master system that sends you emails to remind you what to do everyday.

Such ambition for compulsive organizing and prioritizing is--for me anyway--fleeting. Thank goodness. Now if I could get an email task list every morning that said: drink coffee and listen to the birds, write half the day, garden, take a long walk with the dog, have a drink and a leisurely home-cooked meal with your family, read for hours, repeat next day....well, I'd sign up for that one.

In this frenzied hyper-connected digital world, it's easy to get caught up in the undertow of doing, doing, doing and forget being. I try to remind myself that it's the process that counts, not so much the end result. [Yeah, I know. Insert eye rolling. I can hear you laughing. But notice I said, try to remind myself.]

So many of us are in the habit of just trying to get through something, to get it over with so the real fun begins, wishing away the minutes, hours, days, years. I've noticed too many of the "what's on your mind" statuses of my pals on Facebook say, "Can't wait until Friday." Usually that's on a Monday!

But all this stuff...It never ends, you think. Paying bills, dentist appointments, taking the critter to the vet, the kids to practice, job responsibilities or looking for a job, haircuts, groceries, volunteering, buying birthday presents, and on and on. But dig up an old list in your glove compartment or some dusty drawer, a list you made a year ago, or five or more years ago, and you see all the tedious stuff that's passed, floated on down the river, that debris that seemed so important at the time. "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans." John Lennon said that.

About a year ago, I decided to try to live more in the "now," and that meant to remember to give my full attention to whatever I am doing now. That's pretty much the opposite of what the busy world demands--multitasking, anyone?-- but I find doing one thing at a time makes me more productive, anyway.

When I write, and when I'm outside, in the garden, it's easy for me to "lose myself"-- in a good way-- and escape the frantic tick-tock of time and deadlines, and access a real sense of peace. The zone-- some call it-- when your focus quiets the mind. Not so easy in a traffic jam or at a family reunion!

But it helps to start small if you don't want to sweat the small stuff. And noticing just how often your mind chatters--planning, fretting, remembering, scheming-- is the first step. "To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else." Emily Dickinson wrote, which always reminds me to pay attention to the smells, sights, and sounds around me right now, no matter where I am.

I was in a crowded parking lot recently. Hot asphalt, grumpy people, jumbled shopping carts, car exhaust. I looked up at the lazy, beautiful clouds and there was a rainbow! No one else around me noticed. It was faint, but you could just see it if you looked up, and you were paying attention.

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Bio: Mindy Friddle's first novel, The Garden Angel (St. Martin’s Press/Picador) was selected for Barnes and Noble's Discover Great New Writers program in 2004, and was a National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition summer reading pick. Secret Keepers, her second novel, was published by St. Martin's Press in May. She lives, writes, and gardens in Greenville, South Carolina where she directs the Writing Room, a community-based nonprofit program she founded in 2006. She often posts photographs of her garden on her blog Novel Thoughts: Musings on Reading, Writing & the Earth.

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Win it!



Mindy is sponsoring a fun "Seedy Characters" giveaway for readers of So a Blonde Walks Into a Review! In addition to an autographed copy of Secret Keepers, one lucky reader will win packets of seeds hand-selected by Mindy.

In keeping with the theme of Secret Keepers, which features a rescued garden and a range of flowers--both real and imagined, Mindy will send packets of her favorite flower seeds to the winner!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post letting me know what you loved most about Mindy's guest post. Be sure that there is an email address for you that I can find, or your entry will have to be disqualified. By entering, you automatically agree to all the rules and disclaimers listed here.

You can receive additional entries by doing one or all of the following (one entry for each step):

~Twitter with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with your Twitter link.

~Blog about this contest with a link to this post. Then leave a separate comment here with the link to your post.

~Follow this blog. Simply click on "Follow this blog" found near the top of the sidebar to the right (under "The Blonde"). Then, leave a separate comment letting me know you are following.

~Post the button below on your blog and then leave a separate comment here letting me know it's posted and where. Here's the code for the button:

So A Blonde Walks Into A Review




~Add So a Blonde Walks Into a Review to your Technorati Favorites (just click the button below and follow the simple steps). Then, leave a separate comment here letting me know you've added this blog to your favorites:

Add to Technorati Favorites


Deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Winner will be selected at random using Random.org. Good luck!

So A Blonde Walks Into A Review
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72 comments

Jodi said...

What do you grow in your garden Mindy?

Amber said...

I love how honest Mindy is - I am a list-keeper too and while i love to be organized, sometimes it drives me crazy. I am seriously considering taking up gardening now!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Amber said...

I follow your blog!
Thank you for the giveaway :)
hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Mindy said...

Hi everyone, thank you for the comments and questions. And thanks to Dawn for hosting me. Question about flowers and seeds: I grow herbs, veggies, perennial native plants and annuals, especailly "self-seeding" annuals that are easy to grow, live for one season, then re-seed themselves. These include flowers like Moonvine, Love-lies-bleeding, larkspur, four-c'clocks, cosmos, hyacinth bean vine, sunflowers and zinnias.My seedy character package includes some of these, depending on what I have on hand :) To see pictures of my garden, feel free to drop by my blog, where I frequently post pictures: Novel Thoughts: On Writing, Reading & The Earth

BlondeBlogger said...

Thanks for such a wonderful guest post and giveaway, Mindy! I wish I had your talent in the garden. Heading to your blog now to check out the pictures.

LoveMyCoffee said...

I am also a gardner. I constantly jot down notes on certain plants that I want to try in my garden. I love that you took the time to look up and see the rainbow. If only we'd do that more often, take the time to observe the beauty around us.

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

LoveMyCoffee said...

I follow your blog
and also subscribe by google reader.

Thanks for the giveaway

Dutchlvr1(at)aol(dot)com

tatertot374 said...

I would love to win this.
I really liked the end when she was talking about the crowded parking lot and the grumpy people etc and saw a rainbow in the sky. Its all about the little things and taking notice.
Thank you for the chance
tatertot374@sbcglobal.net

Sunnyvale said...

I like the "look around" comments to see the beauty in little things around you

Mandy said...

I know this is incredibly vague but I loved your writing style overall. It's quite unusual (but I can't say how because I don't have enough writing background to explain) and I love it!

Mandy said...

Tweet

http://twitter.com/flil2/status/2316430221

Mandy said...

Following this blog

Mandy said...

Your button is on my blog

Mandy said...

Fav'd on technorati

Mindy said...

Thanks everyone! Rainbows to you all :)

jayne said...

I love that she gets "lost" in her garden-!! I do the same -even though it is hard work..it is relaxing! Thanks Mindy!!

Laurie said...

Wonderful guest post, Mindy. I'm here by way of your blog, by way of Shelf Awareness.

Have you ever read exactly what you needed at exactly the right time? That's how I feel right now. I've been too busy finishing all the things on my list to sit back and enjoy life or my garden. Thanks!

Laurie said...

I don't know how to Twitter, but I just finished subscribing to "Blonde" by email!

Tasses said...

I love the making lists comment. I am a habitual list-maker. My husband says that by putting stuff on an assortment of lists, I think I've actually accomplished something! Ha1 email in Blogger profile. Thanks :-)

Tasses said...

tweeted here: http://twitter.com/Tasses/status/2327326379

BOJESNE said...

The excerpt from "The Garden Angel".

Leah said...

That's how I've been trying to live my life lately- in the now, aware of all the beautiful things around me. The book sounds great- and I love the cover!

Leah said...

I'm a follower!

idahomom said...

Great article. We all need to slow down and enjoy the scenery. I have a black thumb but this has motivated me to try to plant some flowers with my kids.

A. said...

I like how she finds beauty in the mundane. There is so much beauty around us that we fail to notice. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

luckymegs1981 AT yahoo DOT com

bridget3420 said...

I liked how she talked about when she's writes and she's outside that it's for her to lose herself. I love when that happens to me.

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

tweet

http://twitter.com/bridget3420/status/2368714954

bridget3420 said...

Your button is on my sidebar

http://freebies4meandu.blogspot.com

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

Your button is on my sidebar

http://freebies4meandu.blogspot.com

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

Blog follower

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

Technorati favorite -bridget3420

bjhopper(at)me(dot)com

bridget3420 said...

Blogged about giveaway

http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-book-giveaways_28.html

Kitten22 said...

This looks great! Please enter me!

It's so true what she said - just don't sweat the small stuff, focus on what's important.

BookcrossingKitten22 AT gmail DOT com

Kitten22 said...

I'm a subscriber (through Google Reader).

BookcrossingKitten22 AT gmail DOT com

Kitten22 said...

I tweeted about this!

https://twitter.com/BookingKitten22/status/2372590051

BookcrossingKitten22 AT gmail DOT com

Carlene said...

My favorite part of your interview is the cover of the book. It is so pretty. Please include me in your giveaway.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)Verizon.net

Carlene said...

I am a follower.
Thanks
Carlene
iluvreading(at)Verizon.net

CherylS22 said...

What I love the most about this post is the reminder to live each day in the present & give those endless lists a break!

Thanks,
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

CherylS22 said...

I already follow

megalon22 at yahoo dot com

Carol EL said...

This sentence made me examine my own thinking-So many of us are in the habit of just trying to get through something, to get it over with so the real fun begins, wishing away the minutes, hours, days, years. jelly15301@gmail.com

Carol EL said...

Already follow. jelly15301@gmail.com

Carol EL said...

Technorati fav. jelly15301 jelly15301@gmail.com

paryjeja said...

I like her idea of living in the "now."
paryjeja at sbcglobal dot net

Happi Shopr said...

I always seem to be keeping an eye on the future with my constant list making and being bombarded with day-to-day craziness that I forget to enjoy the "now". Thank you, Mindy for the timely reminder to take a step back and just be for a bit. trinitygsd at yahoo dot com

missrantsypants said...

As a huge John Lennon fan, I adore that she quoted him.



clarkmurdock@yahoo.com

Gabriel J. said...

Great contest, great prize, make me a winner!

Marjorie said...

An interesting novel giveway, many
for the chance to win.

Ginny said...

What a great post. I try to live in the now, but it helps to be reminded. Especially when you have kids, it is easy to get caught up in what you have to do, get done, etc.

Ginny said...

Tweeted http://twitter.com/momof2dancers/status/2421859359

Ginny said...

Following your blog

Donna said...

I like that Mindy is a list keeper. I have to have a list for everything. My family sees me get a pad of paper they say oh no, mom is making another list!

one18fifteen said...

I enjoy how relatable Mindy is. Very down-to-earth.

Thanks!
Leilani
one18fifteen (at) aol (dot) com

Emily C said...

Boy can I relate to this! I remember the best advice I received about being a parent--never sacrifice what's vital and important to the things you "have" to do.

Ed said...

Her reiteration of not sweating the small stuff.

edgenemmers@gmail.com

kathy pease said...

i liked the part she said about looking up and seeing the rainbow..like the saying goes take the time to smell the roses :)or you just might miss the sweet things in life

kathy pease said...

following your blog as klp1965
kathy pease

kathy pease said...

https://twitter.com/klp1965/status/2427554831

Tattooed Dork said...

I love Mindy's view on life. I agree with Lennon's quote too:

"Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans."

Tattooed Dork said...

I follow your blog.

Tattooed Dork said...

I have your button on my blog.

http://tattooeddork.blogspot.com/

Marie said...

I need an email task list that has those things on it also -- including take time to breathe and slow down! :-) Great interview, and the book sounds wonderful!

marielay@gmail.com

Marie said...

I am a follower.

marielay@gmail.com

blueviolet said...

She's so down to earth and I loved what she said about listmaking and trying to be organized. I can totally relate.

doot65[at]comcast{dot}net

blueviolet said...

I'm a follower!

doot65[at]comcast{dot}net

blueviolet said...

I have your button

blueviolet said...

I blogged about it here

purango said...

I liked her comments about concentrating on doing one thing at a time instead of trying to multi-task. I too have found it is more productive for myself to concentrate on doing one thing. garrettsambo@aol.com

yadgirl said...

I like that Mindy is responding to the questions.

tina said...

i am a list nut i have a list for everything and i really like her outlook thanks for the chance eaglesforjack@gmail.com

tina said...

i follow your blog thanks eaglesforjack@gmail.com

Gianna said...

I'm a big list maker too :)

Betsy said...

Mindy has great phraseology in her post, so I bet her book is good! "...noticing just how often your mind chatters..." is so true.

betscontest@gmail.com

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