Healthy Distractions

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You walk by your desk, stare at the computer and close your eyes. Even the thought of writing is uninviting. You need more words filling the manuscript and all you have is a blank mind. Empty today, so you walk away. Even your shoulders are heavy as the muse lays more guilt on each one.
Distraction is what you need, BUT it has to be a healthy distraction. Not just a passing idea that lasts a few minutes, but one to jump-start your creative endeavors. You feel shame and clench your fingers. It makes a writer feel unworthy of their words as peers will be disappointed in them.
Hey, wake up and think of something that interests you. Yes, YOU. Now is the time to revisit areas in your memory and pull yourselves up out of the quicksand. Writing is a solitary endeavor and you need a little social life.This will give you a boost forward. Ladies, remember the lunches with friends and guys remember the runs with your friends. These bring back memories of good times before writing took over your lives. Taking time for a social life will improve your writing.
How long has it been since you dug in the dirt? Gardening can grow flower, vegetables as well as your thoughts. This is a ‘healthy’ distraction. Ladies, what about knitting or crocheting like you did eons ago. Or, maybe you dabbled in the paints. Try again. Guys, remember how you used to ‘tinker’ with the car, lawn mower or fix the drip inside the home? When a writer turns to other matters, the pride in their work is returned in abundance. This is what our writing should do for us.
This reminded me of the ‘Adult Coloring Book’. No one is looking over our shoulders to check for coloring outside the line. It is fun and frees the mind at the same time.
Healthy distractions open up thoughts and bursts your energy. These keep your mind alert and excited. When they are release you will find your characters respond to the new freedom.
Watch Out…Healthy Distractions turned loose can invigorate each scene, each page and you will have happy characters and your writing will flow. You will never look at your desk and computer with despair, but elation at the ideas abounding in your head.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY HEALTHY DISTRACTIONS. HAPPY CHARACTERS.

 

 

 

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WILD AND FUN WEEKEND

WheeeeeeLabor Day weekend filled Atlanta with many activities. Dragon Con had its convention in downtown Atlanta. Costumes captured all of the characters and the parade down Peachtree Street gave kids and adults the sights they were waiting to come to life.

Then, we had the 10th Annual Decatur Book Festival. This opened with the keynote speaker, Erica Jong, and another author, Roxane Gay at Emory’s Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. A new stage opened and is part of the Georgia Grown Culinary Village with cooking demonstrations and authors of cookbooks giving out their secrets and food. There were stages for authors in many genres–The Atlanta History Center, Science Track, Romance, Poetry, Mystery and Thriller, Art, and characters mingling with the people, and the Children’s & Teen Stages.

Venues were set up all around the city of Decatur. The Old Court House opened for different authors to share their work. Decatur is just the town for this event and opportunity to meet neighbors and make new friends. Decatur is home to history–Emory and Agnes Scott Universities. A vibrant city with an appreciation for the arts and books.

The Atlanta History Center offers author programs during the months of September, October, and through November. These are award-winning authors, best-selling authors of fiction and non-fiction, and even authors of cookbooks sharing seasonal recipes. This gives people a chance for discussions and meeting other enthusiastic readers who share the love of books.

What a way to celebrate Labor Day and then back to business, but not in the usual way. I find myself energized with new ideas, meeting other writers from all over Georgia and other areas and states.

The difficulty of my publishers’ bankruptcy announcement is still fresh in my mind. All of the authors of Secret Cravings Publishing are pulling for each other. Our Authors Only site is filled with tears and new beginnings. I keep writing and, in time, will republish Breaking Point and other books. Just not certain in which format. I’ll keep writing new stories and using the words from my head fill the screen.

The day this happened, I glanced at my horoscope, which I never read, but guess the ‘gods’ were trying to guide me.  “This morning you’ll open your eyes with a fresh perspective on life. Then, you’ll figure out what really makes you happy and prioritize your life based on that realization. It is truly a great day.”

Writing and I’ll keep writing until words cease to float through my head and my fingers are too stiff to move over the keys.

HAPPY YOU.  HAPPY DAY. 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.