Things I do to beat writer’s block

mhYv67w-BThere have been times when I write freely and times when I stare at a blank screen or sheet of paper. For some reason, nothing shows up. Writer’s block is perfectionism whispering in your ear. There is fear in making a mistake or some other ridiculous notion. Or you have ideas but are not ready to start writing. It’s okay.

So what do I do? I step away. I go for a walk. I read. I watch TV. I listen to music. I call a friend. Things that make me laugh usually stir the creative juices. Then I return and start with one word. If I have to write or type that word a few times to get going, I do. Most of the time, something develops. If writing doesn’t happen that day, it happens the next. Continue reading

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Burn Baby, Burn

FireplaceBuilding a fire is like anything else in life. You have to work at it. I’ve been living in upstate New York for several months and have been experiencing a fireplace for the first time. I just assumed that you piled wood, lit a match, and allowed things to run its course. Not so. Trust me, it’s a workout.

When I stand in front of the fireplace—not too close of course—it feels like the heat is giving me a body massage. It’s like you’re wrapped in a warm blanket. It’s great when the temperature drops or there’s a slight chill in the air. I’ve been told we can continue to burn a fire until the end of March or beginning of April. It depends on the weather. And we know how that’s been going. Continue reading

Letting Go

320px-Blown_dandelions,_green_backgroundThe past few months have been difficult. Too many things happening at once made it harder for me to stay focused. My mind was filled with non-stop chatter. So I decided it was time to work a little harder at getting quiet. It’s one of the hardest things to do, because worry and negativity take center stage.

At times I wanted to sink my teeth into a big piece of chocolate frosted cake, a pint of ice cream or a bag of candy. A friend who is also going through a bad time was doing the same. We would sit and discuss what we were dealing with and eat all the wrong things. The good thing is that were able to acknowledge that we were stress eating. We laughed about it, and then vowed to handle things differently. Continue reading

Curiosity Did Not Kill the Cat

mC092u6-smallerToday I woke up with a burst of energy I haven’t felt in months. I got ready quickly. I felt like I could take on anyone or anything. I meditated right before going to sleep last night. I wonder if that had anything to do with it. Or maybe it’s the weather. It’s a lot cooler; in fact, the air is fresher and crisper.

The summer went by so quickly. As of September 2, I have a 21-year-old granddaughter. And I will hit the tail end of the Fifty Club at the end of October. I’m still taking a brisk two-mile walk about three to four days out of the week. For me, there hasn’t been much difference between being forty-eight and fifty-eight. At least, not anything I can pinpoint. I’m still hoppin’ and boppin’ along.  Continue reading

Know Thy Characters

DwarfCartoon

“Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King
Cartoon by George Booth Copyright 1993

I discovered something this week. If you’re writing a story, you need to know your characters — well. I had created a brief workup on supporting characters that included appearance and a few interests. But I neglected to get at their core. I started writing without any real knowledge of who they were. Because I didn’t know them well enough, I mixed two of them up. I couldn’t remember who did or said what a chapter or so behind. I didn’t know how each would react.

Grant it, we get to know more about our characters as our stories unfold. But without an outline that includes more than the basics, we can get stuck. So I went back to a few books in my writing library and searched the internet for advice on Writer’s Digest. Continue reading

Stuck in the Middle

myykM0i_2Feeling stuck is the worst. Feeling like things are stagnant—that nothing is moving forward in life—is hard to handle. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel like an animal in a cage. I know things need to play out, so I try working more on what I am feeling. Sometimes, I look for ways to feel freer by changing a routine, doing something creative, or trying something new. So this morning I tried something new. I had been doing research on EFT and found a session about releasing resistance. I believe that everything is energy and so tapping on certain points of the body made sense to me. I also believe that we tend to create resistance without realizing it. The session was easy to follow and took about nine minutes.

Thinking back, I now realize that afterwards, I had a sudden burst of energy. I decided to get that one-mile walk in by heading to a local supermarket. I met an acquaintance on the way who said, “Wow, you must have found a new job. You look so refreshed! You don’t have a lot of worry anymore.” I was stunned. I knew I felt jazzed, but I didn’t realize that I “looked” any different. I told him that I had not found a new job yet, but that I was not as worried about the timing of it all. I felt more confident about things working out. Continue reading

Laws of Cause and Effect

mtJKXso_3A few times this week, the subject of karma (the laws of cause and effect) came up in conversation. I never knew that so many people embraced the philosophy. It didn’t matter their religion or belief system, most people agreed that the Universe was large and in charge. They held tightly to the belief in a causal Universe. They felt it was natural, automatic, and unavoidable.

“Call it what you will,” they said. “The results will always be the same.” Each person had a word or phrase they used to express their belief:

Karma
The Laws of Cause and Effect
What Goes Around Comes Around
Sooner or Later You Have To Pay the Piper
What You Give Out, You Get Back Continue reading

The Write Time

nTh9Mm8_rgbstockI decided to create a writing schedule for myself so that no matter what, at a certain time of the day, I’d write for at least an hour. I started with an hour, because it didn’t feel as intimidating as two. Although I have read about authors who write for about two hours or more each day. I’ve chosen the end of the day, because I’m job hunting and even if I freelance, it will need to be on my own time.

I am at a stalemate with characters and the storyline for a children’s book. I’ve done my research, it happens. Sometimes the best thing to do is to put it aside and work on other things. Taking a break creates enough space so that a new perspective can develop. Continue reading

Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing

Sin-Death-and-the-Devil-GillrayMany years ago, a group of coworkers and I were talking about the Catholic Church. The subject came up because one of the guys in the group was getting married. He was a devout Catholic and the wedding was not far off. I remember that a few of us were attending the wedding.

One person in particular wasn’t familiar with the Catholic religion and was eager to find out more about the ceremony. As the future groom spoke, I suddenly heard the words…venial sin. I almost keeled over. “Wait,” I said. “I don’t know whether to genuflect or cross myself. I haven’t heard that since I was in school.” Everyone laughed. Continue reading

In the Zone

206713_sxc.huToday was laundry day. I decided to get to the Laundromat in the morning so that I could have the rest of the day to job hunt and write. I like this place because you can drop your laundry off or take care of it yourself. I was conversing with one of the laundry attendants when a tall, white, preppy-looking man walked in. His determined stride and facial expression made me think something had happened. He appeared to be heading in the direction of one of the attendants. It turns out that he was heading toward the back to use the bathroom. He never stopped to ask. The attendant had to ask him where he was going.

Within minutes, he walked out with the same determination as when he walked in. He never bothered to close the bathroom door and he never stopped to say thank you. It was as if no one were present in the Laundromat. Like a zombie he shuffled in and out. Continue reading