Friday, July 13, 2018

When Motivation Melts

It's been a long hot summer - is it really only the middle of July? Sheesh! - and my creative oomph is melting like chocolate ice cream down the sides of a sugar cone.

So, if you're feeling the same, these quotes might help - two for keeping on track, one for a good chuckle.  

Wait . . . do you hear that? Voices from the freezer. Ben? Jerry? Uh-oh, I better rescue them! I'll need a spoon. You know, just in case things get yummy . . . uh, I mean messy.

*****

"Stop looking at what other people are doing
and look at what you're achieving.
Stop looking sideways,
look at where you're going."
(Jocelyn Glei)

*****

"WRITER'S BLOCK IS BROUGHT ON
BY WANTING TO WRITE WELL
AND FEARING YOU'RE NOT.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO WRITE WELL,
YOU HAVE TO REVISE WELL."
(Janet Reid)

*****

"I AM EDITING ONE BOOK 
AND DRAFTING ANOTHER,
MOVING FROM PJS TO YOGA PANTS AND BACK
WITHOUT EVER MAKING A STOP
BY ACTUAL CLOTHES."
(Joshilyn Jackson)

*****

How's your creative oomph and motivation holding up so far this summer? Any advice for keeping it from melting? Do you have a favorite ice cream or other stay-cool treat?  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG: Elbow Room


Join Us!

Last month, in When Life Gives You Lettuce, I talked about taking time this summer to re-evaluate and re-group, including spending less time on screens and social media.

So far, so good!

The funny thing is that even though I'm hunkering inside my shell, I actually feel . . . freer, lighter. (I even got my hair cut, back to my previous super short style!) I have "elbow room" now - emotionally, mentally, and physically. I'm focusing on what I really want to, including:

Writing - the horror novella is coming along, and I'm working on two short story subs with end of July deadlines.

Health - the "dreadmill" (aka treadmill) is no longer my frenemy but my actual friend - who knew?! - and is helping me with my walking/running. My focus is not so much on dropping pounds as it is improving heart health, strengthening muscles. It's definitely not about speed. (The tortoises are faster than I am. Seriously.)

I plan to stay relaxed yet focused, and make the most of all this glorious space, just waiting for me to breathe and create and dream and stretch . . . .

*****

How's your summer going so far? Feeling pressured? Relaxed? Any projects you're working on? Anything exciting happening? 

Monday, June 25, 2018

What If? - We All Float Down Here

Since my imagination likes to take a seemingly innocent, random scenario and twist it into something with slithering shadows and skittering claws, and because I often scare myself, I would really appreciate some company as we once again play the What If? game.

Scenario: You're driving along a quiet road when you notice a lone balloon bobbing and swaying in the grass near a drainage ditch, a sewer opening nearby. It's a Get Well Soon balloon - big and shiny - anchored in place by a plastic disc.

What if . . . the balloon was placed there to lure curious people over, and once the people were near, someone - or something - dragged them off into the woods, into the sewer?

What if . . . the balloon didn't land there but grew there? Is it the start of an alien crop, one where the balloons will burst into horrible monsters at harvest time?

What if . . . the balloon got loose, drifted from another time, another place? What if there once was a hospital on that land and something very, very bad happened?

What if . . . the balloon is like a grave marker and cannot be moved or popped, no matter how hard anyone tries? Who is buried there? What kind of magic - good or evil? - keeps the balloon in place?

*****

Your turn! And feel free to create some "nice" tales. Believe me, I already gave myself nightmares, thinking about egg-balloons hatching hideous monsters along the sides of roads . . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Who Needs Sleep?

I love to read at night. You'll often find me curled up in a chair with a hot cup of tea, the house quiet, the blinds closed against the dark sky and all the slithering shadows. I'm also most likely reading something creepy, dark, scary. And while this absolutely goes against my cowardly, chicken-like nature, it gives me a delicious thrill that I refuse to give up.

So, when I came across this article - 11 Creepy Lines from Horror Books that are Honestly Terrifying - I couldn't read it fast enough. Here are some of my favorites:


"THERE WERE WORSE THINGS THAN CRUCIFIXION.
THERE WERE TEETH."
(The Stand by Stephen King)


"THE LAST MAN ON EARTH SAT ALONE IN A ROOM.
THERE WAS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR . . . "
(Knock by Frederic Brown)


"I HAVE NO MOUTH,  AND I MUST SCREAM."
(I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison)


Go ahead, read the whole article. But maybe wait until daylight. Or when you're not alone. Oh, you are alone? Um . . . then who or what (gulp!) is that creaking across the attic, right above your head . . . ?

*****

Do you enjoy reading at night? Are you a fan of creepy stories? Any favorites - books, TV shows, movies? Can you read/watch them before bed or is that just a nightmare waiting to happen? 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG: When Life Gives You Lettuce


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Waaaaay back in January, I wrote about having two big projects for the year. Well, we're about halfway through 2018 and my progress? Not so much. Why? The reasons are few, the excuses many. I now look at those projects with the same stink eye Larry gives me when he has to eat lettuce instead of strawberries.

I decided to take the summer to hunker inside my shell. It's time to reevaluate everything - from health to writing. I'm not exactly sure what this process looks like yet, other than taking more time away from screens and social media. I'll still be around, but I'll only be posting here at TSR a few times a month instead of every week.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to smuggle some strawberries to the tortoises. What can I say? I'm soft-shelled.

*****

Have you had to reevaluate anything lately - goals, plans, life paths? How do you reset, regroup? What are you doing this summer? Anything you're looking forward to, excited about?

Monday, May 28, 2018

May We Motivate You?

As the month of May draws to a close, we here at TSR would like to offer up some motivation - and a little humor! Let's start the second half of 2018 with a kick in the creative "oomph" and a chuckle or two . . . .


"YOUR INTUITION ALREADY KNOWS
WHAT IT WANTS TO WRITE,
SO GET OUT OF THE WAY."
(Ray Bradbury)


"There are a million talented writers out there
who are unpublished only because
they stop writing when it gets hard.
Don't do that."
(Gillian Flynn)


"UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
HEALTHY STRIVING AND PERFECTIONISM 
IS CRITICAL 
TO LAYING DOWN THE SHIELD 
AND PICKING UP YOUR LIFE." 
(Dr. Brene Brown)


"My theory on housework is,
if the item doesn't multiply, smell,
catch fire, or block the refrigerator door,
let it be. No one else cares.
Why should you?
(Erma Bombeck)


"IF I WROTE A DR. SEUSS-ESQUE BOOK
ABOUT THE RESEARCH I DO FOR MY NOVELS
IT WOULD BE TITLED
'OH, THE THINGS YOU NOW KNOW.'
IT WOULD BE TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE
FOR CHILDREN."
(Mindy McGinnis)


"MY WISH FOR YOU IS THAT
YOU FEEL NO NEED 
TO CONSTRICT YOURSELF 
TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE
COMFORTABLE."
(Ta-Nehisi Coates)


*****

How was your May? Your first half of 2018? What creative plans and projects do you have coming up? What are you looking forward to this summer - books, movies, TV shows, vacations?

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Happy, Healthy Writer


"One of the reasons we become writers 
is to live a different kind of life, 
a more creative life, more fulfilling 
and hopefully, a healthier life." 
(Joanna Penn)

YES! 

The quote above is from a fantastic post by Joanna Penn called Healthy Writer Tips: Managing Stress, Anxiety and Burnout.  I don't know about you, but I can use all the help I can get dealing with all three of those things. I recommend reading her entire post, so I'll just share some of my takeaways: 

* She talks about NOT separating her work from her life; it's all-encompassing, and how this can be wonderful AND exhausting. For me, writing is a huge part of who I am and always has been. I used to try to separate it, especially since so many people in my "real life" often ignored my writing, thus making me feel ignored and invisible. Now, I'm getting better at being my own person, doing my own thing. 

* Stress can be positive, when it pushes us to try something new, to step outside our comfort zone, whether in writing or in life. I'm working on a novella, trying to break into new-to-me magazines, and getting back into running. (Let the tears - of hysterical laughter and of pain - begin!)

* One of Penn's suggested Action Steps mentions digital fasting and cutting back on social media and news so we don't get overwhelmed by negativity and suffer from comparisonitis. I find this kind of thing helpful in quieting my mind, especially at night. I only check the news twice a day, and I have a cut-off time for myself when it comes to checking emails and texts. 

* In another Action Step, she recommends paying attention to the rhythms of your energy, your life, and allowing for shifts in how you approach everything, including writing projects. I struggle with this, often trying to force a project at that time, in this way. Sometimes it works, usually it doesn't.


"We all need to stop, take a step back and
think about what we want for our lives 
in a holistic sense. 
Burnout happens in the writer community 
when we forget why we're doing this in the first place. 
We bury the joy of creation in all the things
that have to be done . . . . "
(Joanna Penn)


*****

How are you feeling about your writing health? Do you struggle with anxiety, burnout, stress or anything else along those lines? How do you manage it?