If We Were Having Coffee… Starving Artist Style

Pot of green teaIf we were having coffee, we’d be at my house because I’m on a tight budget and rigorously following my own 10 Tips To Survive The Starving Artist Lifestyle. That means not buying a $3 cup and instead making a whole pot for 25 cents. You can either partake in tea (I have English Breakfast, Earl Gray, green, chai, rooibos – whatever you want!) or bring over your French Press and make some coffee. Then we’ll settle onto the couch with our steaming mugs as the snow falls outside.

Suited up to cycle through snowy Toronto!
Suited up to cycle through snowy Toronto!

Because we’re in Canada, we’ll talk about the weather. That’s just what we do. It’s February and this is the month that everyone starts getting super sick of winter. In November, December and January we’re good sports about the cold and snow and ice. But come February we’ve had it! Personally, I’m tired of suiting up in boots, scarves, mitts, and snow pants, and this week was particularly bad for cycling – a foot and a half of fresh snow Monday night combined with the fact that Toronto rarely ploughs the few bike lanes we have, and it was a treacherous ride to gymnastics. You shudder, incredulous that I ride a bicycle year-round. I shrug – it’s better than waiting for the streetcar in the freezing cold. At least on my bike I’m creating body heat! Plus, cycling is much cheaper than driving a car or taking transit. As a starving artist, I must choose the most inexpensive option. I just wish the car drivers would give me more space on the narrowed, snow-covered roads. Better yet would be if the city built properly separated bike lanes that they actually ploughed, and then I wouldn’t have to worry about cars sideswiping me.

The one kinda separated bike lane in Toronto (Sherbourne St.) actually gets cleared of snow. Photo courtesy of Dandyhorse magazine.
The one kinda separated bike lane in Toronto (Sherbourne St.) actually cleared of snow. Photo: Dandyhorse magazine.
What the other bike lanes in Toronto look like.
What the other bike lanes in Toronto look like.

This leads to a discussion on city politics, then world issues, then my most recent novel project which is inspired by the crap we humans do to each other. I tell you the story is coming along faster than any of my other ideas, proof that I must be getting better at this writing thing. I came up with the concept in November, completed a thrice-revised beat sheet by January, and was all ready to start the scene outline in February until I followed my own advice and did a Story Litmus Test (Hook, Theme + End) and discovered my Hook could be stronger. But when I created a better hook, it changed the whole plot! So, in an effort not to over-revise (blogged about that bad habit here), I set aside the project and returned to working on my mystery thriller Psycho Smart. I find alternating between projects really helps me detach from a story and see it with fresh eyes, a perspective I need to spot what I should fix and what I should leave as is. The only problem is that this is messing with my Deadline Schedule, but I’ve adjusted accordingly and moved on.

What about you? What are you working on this month? Any plans to escape the cold and go south?

After we’ve reminisced about beaches and vacations and everything else, it’s time for you to venture back into Toronto’s winter wonderland. I send you on your way with a hug and a travel mug of hot tea to keep you warm while you wait for the streetcar.

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If We Were Having Coffee is a blog hop inspired and run by the lovely and talented Diana at Part Time Monster. Please drop by her place for coffee. You can also see what other bloggers are up to by checking out her hashtag: #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Author: Heather Jackson

Heather is a freelance screenwriter, game writer, and novelist based in Toronto. For more, visit her website at heatherjacksonwrites.com or follow her on Twitter @HeatherJacksonW

22 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee… Starving Artist Style”

  1. Thanks for the tea! I would say that my week has had its ups and downs and I’m glad to have a chance to just sit and chat in the warmth with you. Do be careful on the treacherous roads and I hope spring comes soon. If not, come down south to us in England where we seem to have escaped the worst of the snow in our area. I would promise you a cup of Darjeeling tea and a homemade chocolate cake!

  2. Thanks for the tea! I would say that my week has had its ups and downs and I’m glad to have a chance to just sit and chat in the warmth with you. Do be careful on the treacherous roads and I hope spring comes soon. If not, come down south to us in England where we seem to have escaped the worst of the snow in our area. I would promise you a cup of Darjeeling tea and a homemade chocolate cake!

    1. Chocolate cake and tea! I can’t say no to that! Though I don’t know where to go because I don’t know your name. But I will be careful on the snowy roads, thanks. Toronto got another few inches today, but at least it’s not too cold (only minus 9 degrees C – balmy!). I too hope spring comes soon.

  3. Thanks for the hot tea 🙂 I enjoyed our chat and boy did we cover a few topics there! I would tell you that I work better when I have more than one project on the go too. Things are going well for me. I’ve finished my prequel story which will form part of an anthology and I’m on schedule for the other main project of the year so far. All I need now is a little sleep! I hope you’re having a great weekend and keeping warm 😉

  4. Thanks for the tea. Earl Grey. My fave!

    Wow. That’s a lot of snow. We’ve been lucky in PA with not much (of course, that will bring a blizzard now). It’s 50 degrees today. You wouldn’t have to go too far south for a little warmth and a lot of sunshine! I have tea, too. Come on down!

  5. I’m doing the starving artist thing, too, but biking here is just too dangerous. Solid ice on the streets and no bike lanes to travel — so I stay home, mostly. In winter, I turn into a mole. Only 41 days until spring, though, and 21 till the end of February and we’re having a thaw between storms right now.

  6. Yeesh, the snow! I imagine that by now you are pretty tired of winter. We’re tired of it here, and there’s been no snow and very little ice!

    We’re about to enter Mardi Gras in full force, so things will be super-busy and crazy around here for about a week, then we’ll be back to normal.

  7. It’s the middle of winter and I’m actually making plans to go on an Alaskan cruise in June. I prefer the cooler temps…but you can keep all the snow and ice. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the coffee and good luck on your writing!
    It sounds like you have a treacherous bike ride, stay safe. No plans here to escape winter, I one of those crazy guys who love it.

    1. Yes, in Michigan you have a lot of snow as well! It’s pretty and I do enjoy it, but I miss just being able to hop on my bike in regular clothes and not worry about frostbite. 🙂 Thanks for having coffee with me and good luck with your renovations!

    1. Haha! My parents spend the winter in Texas so I’ve heard it’s been a cooler than normal winter down south. But they see news of all the snow we’re getting up here so they don’t complain. 😉 Thanks for dropping by!

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