A DIGITAL VACATION

dog days of summer

I can hear your voices raised to the highest pitch. I can also picture your fingers twitch as they cannot touch the keys. Nerves bring your blood pressure to the boiling point. Your throat is tight, dry, and even the glass of cold water sitting next to you goes warm.

I CANNOT DO THIS.  YES, YOU CAN. THIS IS YOUR BREAK AWAY FROM ALL OF IT.

You are on your digital vacation. Enjoy yourself, but you don’t know how. This is the biggest reason for getting up, shutting down the machine, turning off the printer, and darken the light above your desk. You are on a sobriety binge-I AM A COMPUTER-AHOLIC. Now, repeat this small statement over and over and over whenever necessary. Why? We become addicted to our instant gratification of fingers and the keyboard, instant answers to our e-mails, instant….instant….instant.
Can you imagine what it was like for our Ancestors? Mail delivery or just neighborly information received when the horse and rider passed through. We did not realize that just beyond the sky, where the sun sets and the other side with the moon filling up the sky, were newer inventions. We accepted what we received and gave thanks for the information. Then, we were told there were more ways to get the news faster, and the roller-coaster picked up speed.
We forgot how to watch the stars, see how the moon became the night focal point, or faded as the huge ball of yellow lighted up the sky and gave us warmth. These special seasons that help us grow crops to feed families, and the farm animals. Then, with the advance of technology, we proceeded to make everything happen NOW. After years of newer inventions we want MORE and MORE, FASTER and FASTER.
Some days are for breaks. A break where you can walk away from your computer without guilt. We all need a computer vacation and RELAX. How can I relax if I am not working on my computer?  OOPS! This is the answer to why you need a break.
We write and write every day. If I don’t write, I won’t get paid. But have you ever felt that some days are not for writing. Some days are for thinking about writing and what will come next. Some days are for planning ahead for your future. Some days are for just doing nothing. Nothing in the sense of getting in touch with yourself and your soul. Some days are for dreaming about the next writing venture and some days are for meeting friends for breakfast or lunch and laughing, talking sharing and keeping in touch with others. You may have to remember how to do all of this, but you need this as much as you need your vacation from technology.
                   RENEW YOUR SPIRIT.  RENEW FRIENDSHIPS.
                             HAPPY COMPUTER VACATION.

 

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PATIENCE IN HIDING

Great ImageWe all need, no crave a little patience at times. Do you find your patience hiding from you? Of course, and it is never in the same place. You start on one thing and jump to another. Your toes tap without going anywhere. You need to get a grip on yourself, calm down, and take a deep breath. Why do we get in a position like this? Let’s take a stroll through different paths and see if one fits.

PRESSURE:  Do we realize how many times we put this heavy load upon our own self? We need to be in control of every situation, every second. We cannot relax and let someone else take over, if only for a day. That would be disaster in the making.

IMPATIENCE:  Sometimes, we jump in ahead of the game without listening to the rules. What if the rules have changed. We are now uneasy, fretful, even sweating a little. We try to turn this haste on our part to someone else. Why? Because someone depended upon our ability, and we screwed up.

DISCONTENT:  Do you find yourself dissatisfied, disappointed, unfulfilled, resentful, crabby, and the list goes on. Sit back, feet on the floor, and stare up at the ceiling. Focus. What comes into your mind? Work. Writing, Money, Worry. Loss, and this can be from a friend moving away, a death in the family, a child heading to college, or whatever else you find staring back at you from the ceiling. There, you have named this discontented creature and can find ways to move forward.

PERSEVERANCE:  No matter what the patience problems is, we all have the stamina to continue forward. We just have to dig a little deeper with a bulldog tenacity. We must hang tight and let go. Such an odd saying, but when you dissect these words, we all need a little keep trying and trying thrown at us. We all have the ability to be a little stubborn. This may be the time to dig in your heels and show someone else a little patience.

LENIENCY:  Yes, leniency to yourself and to others. Maybe, another word might fit you better, so try tolerance. All of us have the ability to shine in one way or another. We just do not shine in the same ways. The more you can understand about another person, or even a position, the better you become at understanding yourself. Where did your sense of humor go? The best gift we have is to be able to laugh at ourselves.

A little look backward, forward, and in the moment can relieve some of the impatience we encounter. Most of the time, it is not from someone or something, it is ourselves wanting out of the hole we created. Grab a pretend “key” and unlock the shackles you put on. WHEW!! Feel the patience return and be certain not to ask where it was hiding, you already know.

We have today. Make it a beautiful day and do not hurry. Be Patient.

TOXIC CHARACTERS

AudienceWhy not have some fun today and play with toxic characters? This will get your mind spinning, your fingers dancing on the keyboard, and you might end up with a new thought, story or character for your next book. There are many versions of toxic characters, but here are a few that came into my mind.

TAKERS – want everything and will try anything to get their wants fulfilled. They take and take and take, but never give back. Can’t you picture this character in your mind? Remember, these toxic characters are both male and female.

ABUSERS – abuse your friendship, your friends, your family. No, they do not go around with a sledge hammer, and sometimes you have no idea you are being abused. They nit-pick, start rumors, make confusing statements., They are aggressive and not bothered by their actions.

DEPENDENTS – are needy characters. They need apprval to do about anything and want you to be there with them. They depend upon you for information, friendship, love and whatever else they can think will make them a better person. They cannot make a decision on their own without talking about it over, and over, and over.

LISTENING – this character pretends to be so intent on every work you are saying, and remembers word. This listening practice gives way to rumors. You may have said something, but the character turns words around. A listener is a great booster to an ego until the moment is over, and then chaos reigns.

SNEAKY – you can’t forget about these characters. They can prod information from you and you’ll never know, until it is too late. They want something, like the TAKERS, but they sneak to get everything. Bits and pieces of information are all they need. Then, they ad lib their own thoughts and sneak into whatever crowd is around

POOR ME –  brings even an upbeat attitude down. This character is never satisfied with life, the weather, the group, or a dinner at a neat restaurant. They always have problems bigger and bigger than anyone else, and want sympathy and a hand held. Watch out….they will pull you down faster than quicksand.

Okay, these are my versions of toxic characters. I’m certain you can add different toxic names and more descriptive definitions. So think.

Put your creative mind to work. See if you can write a short paragraph about some of these characters and how you might incorporate them into your writing. You might have a lot of fun with Toxic Characters.

Happy Writing..

WE NEEDED TO CHECK OUT THESE WRITING RETREATS

ImageWe weren’t invited, but here we are again. I watched as you gathered for your first retreat as a group and noticed – hey we are all together in our age areas. This is great and maye we can add a point or two.

We like the idea of spontaneous visits to a country when you do your writing and critiquing. Sure everyone wants to write, but don’t you want to hear the stories too? Maybe you should add – WRITING AND CRITIQE RETREATS. OOPS, here we go opening our mouths. SHH.

The evening begins and the hostess has set up a Paris writing place. Music fills the air, the wine is cool, the coffee aromas penetrate the small room, and the table is a small iron circle with small chairs. You feel like you are in a sidewalk cafe in Paris. Your hostess has pictures of her trip to France all over her small room and gives a snippet of information about each one.

Then down to work writing and getting the next few pages written or revised. We stand outside and listen. Nothing but the sound of fingers on laptops and no talking. There is something missing – conversation. An evening of writing with your friends satisfies the soul, but what about the quality of writing. We knock and ask if we could observe this Paris scene.

Observe doesn’t happen; instead we begin asking if anyone would read their written words.Startled, the writing stops. “Why?” one lady asked. “We are here to write.”

“But, wouldn’t it be nice if you could hear comments and get new ideas? Sometimes, we need to see our writing and our story from another person’s view point. If you get stuck on a scene, a character’s attitude, or another character wants to take over, wouldn’t this be the best place to hatch out a new angle?

“When you read out loud, you might hear your story in a different tone and is there any conflict there? Or, are there too many conflicts? Do you know where you are going with your story? Is the plot clear and did you start at just the right place?”

We get stares. “We’re sorry for the intrusion,” and stand up to leave.

“Wait,” the hostess hollers at us. “We never thought about all of these questions when we worked together. We are not a group of ‘young chicks,’ and maybe you could help. Would you stay for a while?”

Of course, my friend and I could not resist. Two hours later, a lot of discussion went around the small room: writing, exercises for characters, subplots, and names of characters. “When your ages creeps upward, viewpoints of life change, and yes, we all know a lot more about life than the younger ladies. This is what makes your coming of age novels different than your characters who have faced life, death, loneliness, and still want the passion, tender moments, and love.”

“Just remember, you are here to help each other make their writing the best it can be. Always be polite and critique the writing, not the writer.”

As the hour got later, the women moaned about the workload facing them tomorrow.

“No, what you had this evening was a blessing. Tomorrow is an opportunity to encounter what your character may face. Do this as a challenge and let your writing show your fortitude. Hey, we all can’t fit the same mold, thank heavens.”

“Uhh,” one lady responded. “Would you be able to join us next time at my home?”

The other ladies responded, “please?” One lady in particular extended her hands toward both of us. “I noticed my writing was for the younger generation, and it’s been quite a while since I looked back. I think my rewrite will be in a era all of us know, and this is exciting.”

Since, it is not polite to refuse, my friend and I agreed, keeping the excitement hidden under our coats as we left. “Next time.” Our mission instead of being accomplished, was just beginning. “We’ve got a lot of work to do,” and realized we’d said the same thing at the same time. Hey, what are friends for, if not for a friend.