Oh, Deer!

During my sabbatical (January through March of this year) Willa enjoyed the best of both worlds spending time in Boise, Idaho with Len, and then he’d bring her to me in Darby, Montana. She adored the wilds of Montana for a couple of reasons:

  1. The two resident cats where we stayed—Marlo and Avocado.
  2. The zillions of up-close-and-personal mule deer. Willa always stayed statue-still and simply enjoyed watching them.
Willa watching the Nature Channel—deer outside the window

And then there was the day that a doe hopped the six-foot wooden fence into the back yard and couldn’t get back out. That was definitely an oh, deer moment. I made like Harry Potter and put on my invisibility cloak, snuck outside and opened the gate, then snuck back in and watched through the window. Sure enough, the moment she saw the way to freedom she made like a bread truck and hauled her buns!

Literal or figurative, what was your last “oh, deer” moment?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Writing Down the Bones

While on sabbatical in Darby, Montana to complete The Business of Being, I wrote like a fiend during the day, and read until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer at night.

During a walk with Willa near the river, we happened upon a skeleton—most likely that of a mule deer. It immediately brought to mind Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.”

In her book, Goldberg addresses the importance of reading. Writers read for the sheer joy of it, but also to ignite our imaginations. We read to gain insight on storytelling; to ponder concepts, ideas, and issues outside our sphere of knowledge; to learn new approaches and techniques for narration, plots, and scenes—each necessary for “writing down the bones.”

Goldberg said, “Writing practice is no different from other forms of Zen practice.” I would add that—for me, at least—reading is the same. It’s a practice; one I adhere to daily.

What book are you currently reading?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Lost Horse

While in Darby, Montana to finish writing The Business of Being, I passed this Lost Horse sign on my weekly drive to Hamilton to buy groceries. The mischievous side of me was desperate to strike through the word “lost” with a black marker and write “found” instead. I’m happy to report that the better part of me won out.


And though I didn’t lose a horse while on sabbatical, I lost some preconceived ideas and found better ones to take their place. For instance:

All males in Montana are not fashioned after the Marlboro man.
Not every public place in Montana has a spittoon.

There’s an incredible French bistro—Taste of Paris—in Hamilton, Montana. Who knew?!
The libraries in Montana (I visited four different ones) are amazing!

While there I learned that “creek” is pronounced “crick.”

On a Montana fun facts and trivia website I additionally learned that “the word ‘ditch’ can be used to order a drink. It means ‘with water.’  ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s ditch, please’ means, ‘I’d like a Jack Daniel’s and water.’ This is not a joke. In fact, all you really have to ask for is a ‘Jack ditch.’ Try it out the next time you find yourself in a Montana saloon.”

What have you lost and found lately?

© lauriebuchanan.com


And while invention and discovery are two different things—invention means to create or design something; discovery means to find or observe something that was already there—both of these occurrences can experience breakthroughs. Here are just a few examples:

  • Scientific breakthroughs
  • Architectural breakthroughs
  • Medical breakthroughs
  • Technological breakthroughs
  • Archeological breakthroughs

Bandit Brewing Co. is a nano-brewery and the smallest brewery in Montana with a quaint tasting room in Darby, just off of Highway 93, and within walking distance of where I stayed.

When I was on sabbatical in Darby, I experienced an artistic breakthrough. I wrote to beat the band! I assure you, however, that the discovery of Bandit Brewing Co. and my writing breakthrough are not linked.

What was your most recent breakthrough?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

In this technology-intense era, we can send an email around the globe in a nanosecond with the mere push of a button.

I don’t receive handwritten letters often, so when I do, they’re extra special. During my sabbatical, I received physical correspondence from a few people. One package winged its way across the pond from Wales!

People sent mail to my Boise address and then Len brought it to me when he visited Darby. It was so much fun!

When was the last time you sent or received a handwritten letter?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Reading and Writing – NOT Arithmetic

During my three month sabbatical (Jan-Mar) to finish writing The Business of Being, my schedule was simple:

  • WRITE during the day
  • READ in the evening

Some of the books I read were serious; others were laugh-out-loud funny!

When I finish reading a book, if I can give it three or more stars, I write a brief review/recommendation and post it on Goodreads and Amazon. These are the books I read and enjoyed during my sabbatical:

Some people hesitate to write book reviews because they feel they have to be long and involved, but many of the best reviews are short. Here’s one of my favorites:

Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth is “as good for you as kale, but reads like chocolate—smooth, rich, and fun.” —Leanne Dyck

When you enjoy a book, do you typically write a brief review/recommendation?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

The Winner!

The first person to type the accurate location of my sabbatical — Darby, Montana — into the comments section of March 28th post was bodojanbo. Congratulations! She has won a signed copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.

Wintering in Darby, Montana was a great experience. Not only was it breathtakingly gorgeous, it was productive. I completed what I set out to do—finish The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace.

Often mistaken for an extrovert, I’m an introvert who functions as an extrovert. So this opportunity—three months of solitude—was like a decadent slice (or three) of crème brûlée.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

© lauriebuchanan.com

Life in a Bubble

For three months (Jan-Mar) I enjoyed the gift of life in a bubble; the opportunity to live where I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me.

Life in a bubble afforded me the opportunity to finish my next book—The Business of Being.

On April 20th I turn the manuscript over to my editor for her to knead. Then she’ll return it to me for a final polish, and shortly after that it’ll go to my publisher. We’re looking toward a spring 2018 publication.

On January 10th in the Looking for Laurie post, I provided the latitude (according to Bing) of my sabbatical location, with the promise of providing the longitude (according to Bing) today: -114.173143.

With those coordinates, the first person to type the correct name of the city and state of my sabbatical location into this post’s comments (not previous posts) will receive a signed copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.

Next week’s post will reveal the winner!

Intentional or otherwise, have you ever lived in a bubble?

Note: Today I’m traveling back to Boise and will respond to comments tomorrow.

© lauriebuchanan.com

Going the Distance

To get to a large grocery store, a gas station with un-inflated prices, or to pick up a pizza (not from a cafe that incidentally offers pizza), I drive 17 miles to a neighboring town. It boasts a population of 4,348—six times the size of the undisclosed location where I’m enjoying my sabbatical. The drive is gorgeous!

Hint #11 — Lewis and Clark most likely saw this view when they were blazing a trail through this neck of the woods.

When I arrived with an already-started manuscript, I calculated how many words I’d need to write each day to go the distance; to complete it in three months. It requires 1,000 words per day, not counting Tuesdays, or two short visits from Len when we goof off the entire time.

For many people, writing 1,000 words per day is child’s play. Not for me. Even in a near-hermit existence with solitude as my companion, 1,000 words per day—that aren’t gobbledegook—is quite an undertaking, but I’m going the distance.

What is your most recent “going the distance” experience?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© lauriebuchanan.com

Logging and Writing

Not exclusive to screenplays, many writers create loglines to succinctly answer the question, “What’s your screenplay about?” or “Tell me a little bit about your book.”

Similar to an “elevator pitch,” a logline is a one or two sentence description of the story you want to convey to your audience or readers. For example, here’s the logline for the movie, Titanic:

A young man and woman from different social classes fall in love aboard an ill-fated voyage at sea.

Hint #10 — Logging is a BIG deal in my undisclosed sabbatical location. In fact, it’s celebrated here!

I’m currently working on the logline for my next book, The Business of Being. Subject to change, here’s what I’ve got so far:

This book isn’t about being in business; it’s about the business of being. Spotlighting the intersection of corporate core values and personal virtues, The Business of Being helps you thrive in business and life.

If your life were a book, what would the logline be?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© lauriebuchanan.com