ARE YOUR RESOLUTIONS SHOWING?

DiamondYou are almost one full month into your 2014 Resolutions. Take a peek and see if you are on track. Did your wants for change make you go overboard? Did you set unrealistic goals? Don’t laugh. Some people go for sky-high goals and set themselves up for failure? Why? Success frightens, no scares them. Get out the list you made and see how you are doing. Do not beat yourselves up. This is an oil change, not a full tune-up.

Are you writing every day? Maybe you can’t do fifty pages, or three thousand words, or revise every page of your current manuscript. But, do you sit yourself down and write? You might be working on your blog, critiquing a partner’s work, or jotting down ideas for a new book. Take another look at your original resolution. Are your goals unrealistic for you? Make an adjustment, take the pressure off, and you might find yourself writing more than you thought.

Are you researching for agents, editors, or publishers for new submissions. Have you talked with your current publisher about new options or avenues for a new work? Sure, this is still January 2014, but have you listed what you want with a new work? Can you see the WIP or the characters? Who will be your audience.  A lot of questions and no answers, yet. Go back and see if this new WIP will be ready or are you still pushing publicity and reviews on your latest work? This is the time to make adjustments. You will feel better and your submission process will improve.

Do you sometimes look at other authors and wish you had their time to give to your work? Some writers make time seem like the most active parts of their lives. But, look deep; they also have to MAKE time to get everything. Never compare yourself to another writer. Each of you are different in the way you write, what you write, your lifestyles and be thankful. Do not try to compete. Try to complete. Fine tune your resolution efforts.

Stop worrying and focus on what you want to happen. Take the negativity out of the formula and throw in a pound of positivity. Now, take a look at your writing area. Do you have good lighting, is your chair or bed or cushion comfortable? Are your files up-to-date? A lot of stress is brought on by misplaced articles, notebooks, lost pens, and extra supply of printer ink. See what you need to do your work with ease. Then make the changes in your original resolutions.

A happy and competent you gets your writing, right.  Happy Writing.

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AN OFF DAY

The OtherlifeDo any of you wake up and know the events of the day will not be smooth?

When I opened my eyes , this cold morning, an OFF DAY greeted me. My head tried to list everything from top to bottom before I could get in a good stretch. Slinging my feet out of warm covers to the cold floor hurt. My toes could not find their slippers. One good thing: SUNSHINE poured into my room.

The coffee process started, I knew this would put a little ‘umph’ into my day. Turning around I choke. All the household chores done the day before showed dust particles on every surface. Dark, dreary days hide the magic of dust and dust bunnies. Then, the sun brightens the windows and dust magic stares back at me over the furniture, floors, and all surfaces.

I blow across the desk, moving some of the sprinkles away from my computer. With the lid open, I hit the ‘on’ key. The screen is filled with sparkles. I continue without bothering about the wipe cloth. At least my brain has strength to write a few pages.

A few paragraphs later, I try to print out the work. I can edit online, but prefer paper and pen to get every mistake, well, most of them. Printer hums, paper goes through, no print. The ink cartridge shows ’empty.’ I check the desk drawer, no make that drawers, for more ink. Nada. Positive I bought two cartridges, I run through some receipts. Only one shows up.

Okay, forget about the printed page until later. It is too cold to jump up and head to the closest office supply store. Besides my robe and slippers are keeping me warm. More coffee. I need more coffee. Back in the kitchen, my stomach growls. Breakfast. I check the cupboards and spot some Brown-Maple oatmeal. This sounds good. A small amount of time passes and I smell a funny order. My fingers are on the keyboard and my oatmeal is scorching in the pan. Good bye, breakfast.

Words are pounding in my head, “Let me out. Let me out.” I comply with no oatmeal but another cup of coffee would help. I watch the words fall from my head to my fingertips. I continue plugging away at the keys, and ignore the ringing phone. I keep writing and the phone keeps ringing. Not to worry. Voice mail will pick up. I am too far away to hear the words, but they will be there later.

I sneak a peek at the clock. Yee! whiskers. I need to get ready to teach my class. If I hurry, I can make it with time to spare. But, no. A tennis shoe has dirty laces and the one stretch top I wanted to wear is in the dirty clothes. Thank heavens, the toothpaste tube is full.

Dressed,  I head to my car knowing there is plenty of gas. I can stop at the store for ink. Time tells me, NO. My brunch will be a couple of bananas. Not a good way to start the day, but work with what you have.

Class is great. Maybe the bananas turned the OFF, off, and I can have a neat day after all. I smile. Then it hits me. Why didn’t I hit the early morning with a bigger smile, a better attitude , and a few shrugs of the shoulders.

I believe, we all need an OFF DAY to bring our lives into the sunshine. Stress fills each day and the smile, the laughter, and the lightness of spirit gets pushed back. Today, let all the brightness you can into your life. If you aimed for 50 pages and got 20 done; hey, you worked. Now, go play. You’ll have company when you get home….dust bunnies.

ENJOY YOUR DAY.

NO WRITING FINGER DAYS

images_064Have you ever had those days when your mind races and thoughts fall out of orifices you never knew existed? You race to your I-Pad, cell phone to text yourself, your home computer, and your fingers cannot find the keys. You stare at a blank screen with your fingers poised over the keys and nothing happens. NOTHING.  Your fingers are paralyzed.

I’ve had these days, no make that nights, when sleep evades the body and the mind overtakes everything. I get up and creep to my computer. At this time of morning, noise travels. I push the button, click on a small desk lamp, and the keyboard remains silent. I want to shake my head over the keys, hoping thoughts will do the work for me. NOTHING.

In my stocking feet, I slide over the floors in quiet mode. I search for my old, very old recorder. Would it still work? Is there a tape in it? All this time, thoughts are strangling my mind needing to be heard. Nothing works. NOTHING.

My last resort is pen and paper. I grab a notebook and search for blank pages. I reach for another one and search again. The gods are against my mind explosion. The pen gives out of ink. The pencil lead breaks. Ingenuity. I need ingenuity and find an old tube of lipstick. Here I sit, at three a.m. in my p.j.bottoms, an old t-shirt, socks covering my feet, and a notebook in my lap. My hand is poised over the paper with a red lipstick tube. I scribble and I scribble. My fingers curl around the tube of blood as words dribble and slide over the lined paper. But, not on the lines. My words spill sideways, from corner to corner, up and down, and I don’t care. My fingers are working. About an hour later, more notebooks, and another old tube of red lipstick, my mind slows town. Are all the words out?

I look at the pages and cannot read my own notes, lines, squiggles, and some of the blood lipstick has smeared. Yet, I feel elated with energetic fingers.

Go for the FREEDOM. Set yourselves up to a different prospective. Do not always stay in the same position over a keyboard. Invent new ways to take your creative endeavors to higher levels.

I now keep pens with new ink cartridges and fresh lipstick tubes in blood-red, close by. I am ready for the next – no finger days.

I’d love to hear how you overcome your “OFF” writing days.

HAPPY WRITING ANYWHERE.

 

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?

New BLog OutI know this is an age-old question, but when you think about ideas, your mind opens up to unusual places. Sometimes we need to step away from the norm and head to the unknown. This is the unfamiliar territory we seldom visit.

Take a walk down streets you haven’t walked for a long time. Observe the shapes of  homes, with porches or without, toys in the year, or a perfect lawn job with explicit edging. You see an old car in the driveway or a new car parked in the open garage. Can you take a guess at the family living there? Your imagination is tweaked a little and a story begins to form in your mind.

You hear a song on the radio, I-Pod, or music flowing from your television. What is it that draws you to this particular song? A past love, a first dance, or a party you wished you’d never attended. Do not pull the plug. Do not turn off the sound. Instead, listen and feel your stomach tighten into knots or your heartbeats quicken. Keep these feeling close. You might be on the verge of a new romance story. You could also be on the edge of wanting to run to a safer place. This sounds like suspense.

Take a trip, no not to a coffee shop, but to a bus station, a metro train station, or an airport. Sit like you are waiting for the next ride out or for someone. Watch. Observe. Snap a few pics with your cell phone to give you some great reminders. Any of these places will make your senses sharper, your mind more active, and the ideas will be full of flavor. Let your imagination run wild as you see travelers get on or get off a bus, train , or walk in a crowded airport looking for someone.

The next time a Carnival or Circus comes around, make an effort to go. How long has it been since you walked through a FUN HOUSE? Feel the excitement from your childhood along with the fright. Do not cover your screams.

See your ideas come from different parts of life and bring new energy to your projects.

HAPPY IDEA HUNTING.

BACK TO BUSINESS

ASAPDoes this look familiar? For me, too familiar. With the merry-go-round of the holidays, parties, great food, fun with family, fun with friends, we know the end is in sight. The ‘old’ man slipped away and the ‘new’ kid came on the block to the tune of 2014. So, we go to the let down month of January. Getting back into the routine of work, work, a little play, and more work.

Don’t know about all of you but the 2013 TAX SEASON is knocking on our doors. My snail mail box fills up with notices of year-end statements and my email box produces almost the same information. Information about taxes and all the other stuff that needs to be organized and sorted. I keep good records during the year, but have to go through and catch my mistakes. My computer runs hot, my printer low on ink, and my paper supply becomes unavailable.

Still, the thoughts of ‘what if’ pound inside my head. I try to read all the changes and decide I need to be an attorney to get to the bottom of a simple change. Guess everyone has to get paid for writing thousands of words to change a sentence. As writers, we are up on all of this and could delete hundreds of pages by marking through all the adverbs and adjectives. I wonder if they know about our writing rule: make every word count. Guess not.

The attendance in my SilverSneakers class is great. Just about the same as in past months. Some new seniors are coming in to check out what goes on, and some of the regulars are returning from vacations, holidays with families in other parts of the county. I welcome them all. This is the time of the year when gym memberships go sky-high. The New Year’s Resolutions of getting fit, healthy  and shedding the unwanted pounds hit home. The cycle goes strong until around March, and then the newness wears off. They forget these exercises are for a lifetime of fitness and health.

I woke up one morning to a minus 6 degrees and the thought of curling up in bed ran through my mind. But with a cup of hot coffee, or two, warm gym clothes, and  a long wool coat, I was ready to hit the road. Not yet. The driver’s side of my car was frozen solid. The thought of a hair dryer popped into my head. Sure, where is mine? Back in my warm home. As I looked around, I found no electrical outlet. You can tell it’s been a while for this type of catastrophe. So, decided to try the passenger side. After a few easy, short pulls on the handle, I entered the passenger seat through a small crack. From there, I crawled over the console and in to the driver’s seat.

My car may be ‘o-l-d,’ don’t want to say this word out loud as she gets hurt feelings, but one turn of the key and her motor purred. Guess she wanted to warm up too. I have a good relationship with my car, but we’ll make that for another time.

On the way to work, snow flurries hit the windshield and slid down in a melted position. Nothing stuck to the pavement or side roads.However, north of Atlanta people sent beautiful pics into television stations of snow piled high. I’m glad to live where we get a taste of this, not a plateful, and it leaves in a hurry.

Now, we should be ready for all the new ideas, plans and hopes for the 2014 year. May they all come to fruition for you, and do not forget to share your happiness with others.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Patricia

COFFEE TIME IN 2014

Two friendsIt’s been a wild ride in 2013, but we always look forward to a new year and new beginnings. Edna looked at Ethel, “Let’s sit and chat with Patricia for a while. She may have some new ideas.”

Welcome to 2014. We need to take it easy this afternoon. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage and look at all the opportunities ahead. Are you ready for new experiences, new friends, visiting new places or just hanging out? When a new year arrives, are you one to jump forward with gusto? Or do you feel overwhelmed, lost or unsure. With so many pages in our calendar or planner, without events listed, the white spaces scare and confuse us.

Relax. Sometimes this is harder to do than the word says. Yeah, we all know what it means, but I decided to expound and looked up some of the other words. Relax is the same as being at ease, slowing down, softening an attitude, a slight pause, amusing oneself, and then I stopped. Amuse myself to relax? How do you feel when you grab a book and get involved with the characters? You can forget your worries and let the book characters do the worrying. You do not have to take on any responsibility for their ups and downs. Some people get lost in their hobbies. When they do something they love, the world turns without their help.

This is your year to keep your minds sharp and upbeat. Do not rule out quizz shows on television or a walk with a friend. When was the last time you played a game of Solitaire, whether with cards at a table or on your computer? The next time you feel uptight, play a game of Scrabble, fill in a Crossword Puzzle, or try to put a puzzle together, and not the little kind? Better yet, put the stereo or radio on to some great listening music and play a game with me–The Dust Bunny Race. This game forces you to sit and relax, okay amuse yourselves. Watch the Bust Bunnies scurry across the floor, under furniture, behind furniture, in corners, or wherever they go, and bet on which one will hide the longest. This game shows you have more and important areas to attend to, instead of cleaning up, all the time.

Make each day count for you and for others. Giving is a great relaxer when the receiving person smiles and says, “Thank you.”

Now, go and enjoy 2014 with all its surprises and adventures. “Thanks for sitting with me, Edna and Ethel. You have become great friends.”