Pregnancy Update: Week 40

Excuse the mop and tired 40 week pregnant lady.

 

Guess who is still pregnant?

Today, I’m 40 weeks and two days pregnant, and I have no clue when my little baby girl will actually get here.

By this point, everyone I know is wondering if the baby is here yet. As I mentioned in the last post, I’m getting lots of Facebook notes, texts, and phone calls inquiring about the baby’s whereabouts. The best part is the advice we’ve been given. Everything from the normal old wives’ tales – drive down a bumpy road – to a specific chain restaurant we should eat at because that person’s children were born the very next day after they ate there. Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: Week 39

38 Weeks and 4 days pregnant

 

To begin, I can’t believe my pregnancy has almost come to an end. In two more days I’ll be 40 weeks pregnant. I still vividly remember being six weeks pregnancy hoping to make it to week seven. I remember the relief of getting to week twelve and finally being able to tell our family, friends, and work. I remember perfectly those first few days in the early weeks of the second trimester when I was finally starting to feel better, but too nervous to be excited about it. I remember hoping the third trimester would be as kind to me as the second.

And suddenly, I’m days away from meeting my baby girl. It all seems so surreal. Continue reading →

Currently in July 2015

photo-1433208406127-d9e1a0a1f1aaReading: I haven’t been reading much in the past month. Besides Spry Literary Journal submissions, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for work to prepare for my maternity leave. My writing time is taking over my reading time.

Listening: to “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult on my way to and from work. It’s an Audible book, and I’m enjoying it so far.

Excited: to know that any day now I will meet my baby girl. It’s so weird to think that my pregnancy is almost over. In some ways, it feels as if it just started (in others, it all seems so long ago!). Technically, my due date is in 5 days. I could go then, now, or the baby could choose to keep cooking for a little while. We shall see. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking not to know when she will make her appearance to the world.

Watching: Wentworth, Revenge, Shark Tank, Cutthroat Kitchen

Wearing: My wardrobe hasn’t changed all that much throughout my pregnancy! I’m wearing dresses mostly throughout the week, but I’m also living in leggings and shorts some times. If you want me to be completely honest with you, my pajamas are my go-to outfit while I’m home. It’s the most comfortable clothes I own.

I’ve actually been real lucky to have a great maternity wardrobe, but I am a little excited about adding in some of my non-maternity clothes (hopefully soonish).

Wishing: for a healthy baby. Yes, same as last month, but that’s the only important thing right now. I’m also hoping that Wolverine loves being a big brother as much as I think he will. Yes, it will be a transition, but he’s such a loving, awesome kid I hope he adjusts well.

Drinking: Same old drinks: orange juice, cranberry-grape juice, or water. Sometimes I have an occasional ice tea.

Loving: all the baby movement I feel. Yes, I’m one of those moms who is going to miss being pregnant after the baby is born. I’m trying to enjoy our special little bond while we’re together, and I’m sure I’m going to love having her in this world even more.

Loathing: How huge my feet have been swelling and how arthritic my hands, feet and joints feel on super warm days.

Admiring: My husband. He’s a really great guy who goes above and beyond for other people. He’s one of the most selfless people I know. All he cares about is doing things to make other people happy. I’m so very lucky to have him in my life.

How’s July treating you? It’s one of my favorite months, and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

FYI – Now that the baby will be here soon, I may move this monthly check-in back to the last day of the month. Not sure, but we will all find out come August!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay, and June.

The Lady Writers Interview Series: A.J. O’Connell

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The fourth incredible lady I interviewed is A.J. O’Connell. She and I went to the same graduate school, and were both chapter editors on an amazing book – Now What?: The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success After the MFA. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

aj.oconnell.photocreditErin Ollila: Let’s start with something easy. I’ve always admired your writing. In fact, I interviewed you when one of your previous novellas came out. What are you currently working on?

A.J. O’Connell: Oh man. So I’m working on.. hang on, I’m counting them.. three projects? No. Four novel projects actually. I like the pain.

EO: Sounds like it! Are they all novels?

AO: Yes, three are novels. One is the last novella in the Beware the Hawk trilogy.

EO: How do you feel about rounding out the Beware the Hawk trilogy? Do you feel as if it’s found a natural end, or are you worried these characters will live with you forever?

AO: I have a lot of feelings about the Beware the Hawk trilogy. On the one hand, I am very ready to wrap it up and move on to my other projects, but on the other hand, I struggle with giving the story an ending. The whole trilogy is the a story about the death of an organization, really, and the evolution of our country’s post 9/11 mindset, and that’s been a hard thing to capture, especially since I feel like our country’s mindset is changing very quickly. So it’s taking me forever to write this last piece of the story.

That’s my excuse.

EO: It actually sounds like a pretty reasonable “excuse.” Are you willing to share any details about the three novels you’re working on, or is that still under wraps for the time being?

Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: 37 Weeks

I am 37 weeks and two days pregnant today. 

At my doctor’s appointment yesterday, my physician told me that from this point on they wouldn’t stop me if I were to go into labor.

Can you even believe that?

It feels like just yesterday I announced my pregnancy on the blog. There are so many ways this pregnancy has just flown by. At the same time, there were certain points that felt like they lasted so long. Now that I’m in my final few weeks, I just can’t believe how fast the actual journey was.

The question I get asked the most at this point is if I’m ready to have the baby. It’s a pretty normal question. In fact, I’ve asked it of many friends before. The last few weeks are difficult on any pregnant person, and especially so in the hot and humid summer. As of today, I have 2 weeks and five days until my due date.

Am I dying to have this baby? Continue reading →

Weekly Link Love

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I’ve been sharing a lot of great content lately on Twitter, and it’s made me realize that it’s been quite a while since I shared quality posts on the blog. I used to do it weekly, but after a while I felt like I was searching for content to share, versus being excited to share new posts with my readers.

Now, I feel as if I’m overloaded with awesome posts I’ve been hoarding in my reader or sharing on Twitter. It’s about time to take that community spirit and share some awesome content on the blog with you guys.

Since I was cleaning out my reader, I thought one of the best things to do was share old posts that have been in there for years. Yes – years. I have posts dating back to 2011 in my reader. I save them because I’ve enjoyed them, but to be honest, it isn’t as if I go through my reader regularly for posts to read. I’m trying to simply my “Saved For Later” section, and in doing so, I’m going to share some posts with you from years and years ago.

Enjoy!

Continue reading →

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Mary Lide

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The third incredible lady I interviewed is Mary Lide. She and I went to the same graduate school, but at different times. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

11426633_816272875929_1135390652_nErin Ollila: You’re about to graduate from Fairfield University with your MFA in Creative Nonfiction. How do you feel? What are your thoughts on your past two years in the program, and what do you expect in the near future?

Mary Lide: I’m a little sad about graduating, because I’m going to miss the residencies. They were like writer summer camps for me. That said, I am excited about graduating, because it’s what I’ve been working for during these past two years. I really enjoyed my time in the program–every mentor I worked with was a dream. They understood my work, and pushed me to try new things. I’m proud of what I’ve written during the program–I think I’ve found my writing style. As for the near future…still figuring that part out!

 

EO: Let’s talk a little more about what you studied while in the program. What was your thesis about?

ML: My thesis is titled Still: Essays in 23 Frames. It’s a collection divided into three main categories: My mother, my family, and myself. Each section has a mix of lyrical essays and narratives. The subjects of the essays include death, mental health, childhood, the body, identity, fear, and longing.

Continue reading →

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Stephanie Harper

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The second lovely lady I interviewed is Stephanie Harper. Stephanie and I went to the same graduate school, and she was also on Spry’s staff for quite some time. We were so lucky to have her keen eye and editorial skills working with our contributors. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

Stephanie Harper Reinventing ErinErin Ollila: I was so lucky to have you as one of my Editorial Readers at Spry Literary Journal. Does close reading other writers’ work influence your writing at all?

Stephanie Harper: Definitely. I think the influence is kind of twofold. On the one hand, I get to read many well-crafted pieces that inspire me and push me to go further with my own work. This has been a great source of energy for me. On the other hand, looking critically at the amount of submissions I go through each issue, I begin to see patterns emerge in regards to craft issues or certain writing ticks that turn me away from pieces. It makes me hyper-vigilant in my own work.

 

EO: Well said. I think learning from other’s mistakes is a type of job benefit. You can learn without making mistakes yourself. Let’s talk about your own writing for a moment. What mistakes of your own have you learned from along the way?

SH: That’s a great question. From a craft standpoint, I’ve found that there were a lot of small things I could edit out of my writing that totally opened it up. Dialogue tags, for example. And adverbs. You don’t always realize how all those added words can muddy the waters of your prose until you start to really consciously eliminate them. And, sometimes it’s just a matter of having something spelled out in detail… It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash. In terms of professional lessons learned, I’ve discovered that you have to be really careful with freelance work, particularly in taking on projects for individuals. While most of my clients have been wonderful, there’s been a time or two where I’ve gotten significantly underpaid or even not paid at all for work I’ve done. I’ve learned that you have to have a good grasp of the assignment and the time you will potentially put in before you start in order to make sure the fee is fair. I’ve also learned for large scale projects worth a lot of money, that if an individual is willing to pay at least a portion of the sum up front, this is a good insurance policy.

Continue reading →

Currently in June 2015

IMG_0893Reading:

Frank McCourt’s Tis

Ann Hansley’s Everybody Writes

Stephen King’s Joyland

Also, since we just published issue 06 of Spry Literary Journal, we had a backlog of submissions to catch up with, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading for the journal as well.

Listening: to my “Work” playlist on Spotify. It’s so terrific, and I have a real hard time not belting out a tune in the office. Continue reading →

The Lady Writers Interview Series: Maria Marmanides

I’m so excited to begin a new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The first lovely lady I’ll be interviewing is Maria Marmanides. Maria and I went to the same graduate school, and I adore her. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

 

6Erin Ollila: Okay so to start, I guess my first question is how and why did you get into copywriting and editing. Is this something you’ve been doing for a while or something that started after the MFA program?

Maria Marmanides: When I graduated from my undergrad, all I knew was that I wanted to be “a writer.” I don’t even think I knew what copywriting was – I just got lucky with a creative director who was willing to take a chance on someone with no real experience, but a lot of drive, badly drawn sketches and a propensity for making puns.

Now I’ve been a copywriter for nearly a decade, so long before I even considered going back to school to get my MFA. In fact, it was being a copywriter that motivated me to go back to get it. Not because you need an MFA to work as a copywriter – you really don’t – but because I was starting to lose my own voice. You write so much in marketing speak, and for various brands and different target audiences – that you start to lose a little bit of what makes your writing yours. That’s why I decided to go back to get my MFA, to get back to the core of what I love about writing, which is, revealing a personal truth, however shameful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable, in hopes of a creating a honest connection with someone else who has felt that same way. I didn’t want to be a writer because of some deep-rooted need to get someone to buy another bottle of shampoo.

 

EO: I love that you made the decision to get your MFA because you wanted to refine and also redefine your “voice.” As a creative nonfiction writer, building my voice is paramount. I’ve always wondered about voice in fiction. How do you develop the voice of your characters? Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: 34 Weeks

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34 weeks and 2 days (at work!)

How far along? 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant. 40 days until my due date.

Total weight gain: I’ve gained 25.2 pounds according to my doctor’s visit yesterday.

Maternity clothes? You bet – most of the time. I occasionally wear shirts from my pre-pregnancy days, but I’m mostly wearing all maternity clothing right now. So thankful for my friends who outfitted me this pregnancy.

Stretch Marks? None yet.

Sleep: I’m sleeping pretty well and loving it. However, I’m definitely finding myself more sleepy in the third trimester. Some days doing just a little leaves me exhausted. Other days I can accomplish a lot. I guess that is to be expected at this point.

Miss Anything? Soft cheese. Continue reading →

Spry Literary Journal Issue 06 Has Launched!

Incredible news for you folks on this fine Monday:

Issue 06 of Spry Literary Journal has launched! We’re so happy to share this awesome writing with you and hope you’ll spend some time getting to know our incredible contributors. Check it out here.

Thanks so much to the awesome Spry team for all their hard work and dedication this past issue.

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Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

31 weeks and 5 days pregnant

How far along? 32 weeks. I can’t believe there are only (approximately) 8 weeks to go!

Total weight gain: I’m up to a total weight gain of 23 pounds. The majority of people who know me say that I still look pretty small for 32 weeks. However, I have gotten my first “Oh, you’re going to deliver wayyy before the end of July” reaction, so I guess that means I’m starting to plump up. I’m actually really happy with the changes in my body, so the weight gain makes no difference to me at all.

Maternity clothes? Still wearing a mix of “normal” clothing and maternity clothes. It’s that weird transition time in a New England spring when long sleeves and short sleeves are both appropriate, so I find myself either layering up (and removing layers) or changing during the day.

Stretch Marks? None yet.

Sleep: I’ve actually been sleeping a little better since the last update. I’m still (mostly) not getting up in the night to go to the bathroom, though that happens maybe 1-2 times a week. I cannot complain about my sleep in any way. I’m so fortunate to get this amount of sleep this late in the pregnancy. Continue reading →

Currently in May 2015

photo-1428452788387-375d846a8ab4Reading:
  

Listening: I just finished “The Remedy for Love” audiobook by Bill Roorbach. I listened to it whenever I was driving. It’s a drastic improvement to the radio. I signed up for Audible, though I’m not really sure how I feel about the membership yet.

Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

29 weeks and 4 days

29 weeks and 4 days

How far along? 30 weeks. I’m officially at the point where my monthly meetings at the doctor’s office are now biweekly and will soon be weekly.

Total weight gain: We made a jump up to 20 pounds this week. I never thought I’d be happy to be gaining weight. I guess that’s just the clarity you gain from losing weight for a while when pregnant. I’m still feeling great physically so that’s all that matters.

Maternity clothes? Still wearing a mix of “normal” clothing and maternity clothes. At this point, if I’m wearing a dress it may or may not be maternity. If I’m wearing a top and bottom, the bottom is definitely maternity, and there’s a good chance that the top is maternity as well, though I still have a small stash of my normal tops I’m wearing – especially cardigans. I love my cardigans! Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks

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27 weeks and 2 days pregnant in this picture

 

How far along? 28 weeks, which means I’ve officially started my third trimester. Yikes.

Total weight gain: 14 pounds as of my last visit two weeks ago. I’m still smaller than I expected to be at this point, but I love my baby belly.

Maternity clothes? I’m still so grateful for all the maternity clothing my best friend gave me because it’s all I pretty much wear at this point. I did buy a whole bunch of maternity dresses from Old Navy a couple of weeks ago, and I love them. The only problem is that I’m so short, so my sister-in-law has to hem them for me. I’m so grateful that she’s able to do that! Continue reading →