Monday, October 20, 2014

Motivational Monday

(Clint Eastwood)

The older we get, the more experience we end up having. But how much of that experience is gained simply by default? By going through our days, by being alive?

I admit a lot of what I've learned lately has come from just...being. Somewhere along the line, I began taking a back seat in my pursuit of knowledge. I started sitting in the last row of one of those log flume rides where you get wet just by being on the ride. 

No more. I'm sitting in the front row, starting today. I'm choosing the seat. not just plopping into it because it's the only one left, because it's the easiest, the safest. I'm making a concentrated effort to learn and to grow, to challenge myself, to keep my mind active and open.

Care to join me? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Motivational Monday

(Adele Brookman)

Someone once told me that our best quality is often also our worst one. I don't know how true that is for everyone but it certainly is for me. My imagination has always been one of my better attributes. But somewhere along the line, it veered off a wholesome path full of unicorns and fairy dust, and into some gnarly woods where hideous creatures scuttle beneath thorny, poisonous bushes.

Now, while that's all well and good for writing, it's not so great for living. Seriously, sometimes I'm surprised I manage to leave the house. When your imagination enjoys poking a stick into the darkest shadows to see what comes lunging out, you learn to duck, and then ultimately, to stay down. 

I need to remind my imagination about some of those old paths, the ones that aren't so dark, the ones where the twists and turns lead to something good. Maybe the unicorns and fairy dust are gone, but the sunshine and cool breezes aren't. 

If your imagination often holds you hostage in a deep, dark place (um, see what I mean?) then start negotiating with it - one worst case scenario for two best cases, a creepy thought for two positive ones, etc. The stories I need to tell might live in those wild woods...but that doesn't mean I have to. Not anymore. Oh, I'll still visit - someone has to hunt down those horror stories - but I'll be bringing the biggest flashlight I can find. And extra batteries. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fierce, No Fear and Strut Your Stuff - Nailpolish Stories

The October 2014 issue of Nailpolish Stories is up, and I'm thrilled to have two pieces in it. 

"Fierce, No Fear" is especially appropriate since this is Breast Cancer Awareness month, while "Strut Your Stuff" will make you smile and cheer for those who dance to their own music.

Nailpolish Stories, A Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal is so creative and fun! If you head on over, I hope you enjoy the stories, and I hope you'll consider writing and submitting some of your own. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Motivational Monday

(Marilyn Wann)

I'm due for my yearly physical, and I just so want to say to the doctor, "Yes, I'm fat. Yes, I need to lose weight. No, you don't need to scold me like I'm a child."

To be fair, my doctor has never yelled or called me fat. Her remarks and her concern are professional and appropriate. It's all me. I'm the one berating myself. I'm the one beating myself up. I'm the one angrily gnawing on celery sticks smeared with hummus with the same glowering intensity I save for despised aerobic activities. (Treadmill, I'm looking at you.)

And for what? So I can sit, cold and lumpy and miserable, on that exam room table, the one covered in what might as well be butcher's paper so I feel even more like a piece of meat?  

No more.  

Oh, I still need to lose weight - that's a fact. But I can certainly be nicer to myself as I go about it. When I go for a walk after dinner instead of watching some re-run on TV, I can pat myself on the back. When I ask the waiter not to bring the bread, I can treat myself to piece of chocolate later. When I push myself to ride my bike farther, faster, I can revel in the strength and health of my body, then take it for a massage.

Whatever it is we're trying to accomplish, putting ourselves down isn't going to help us achieve our goals. Will being kinder to ourselves get us there faster? Maybe. Maybe not.  But I'd rather enjoy the journey, enjoy the scenery, as I try, instead of being stuck on some endless loop of self-hatred, going nowhere. (Again, Treadmill, I'm looking at you....)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Motivation Is Like A Banana . . .

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For last month's IWSG post, I wrote I was "cautiously optimistic" about my writing and a new project - a horror novella - I was working on. My goal was to have the first draft done by the end of September.

Not even close. 

I lost faith - not in the project (I still really like the idea) but in myself. I'm now convinced that berating my lazy butt with colorful expletives is my true talent. Motivation disappears around here faster than a banana in the tortoises' food dish. (Trust me - that's fast.)

So, I set myself a new goal - to prep it and plot it in October so it's ready for the great NaNo push in November. But...I don't know. What if I can't get my mojo back? Or, what if comes back, but I can't sustain it for the course of the project? How can I accomplish anything consistently if I seem to work best in creative spurts? 

Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated! As is chocolate.   

Monday, September 29, 2014

Motivational Monday

(Dr. Phil McGraw)

I'm sorry to say I've let people believe it's okay to disrespect me by disrespecting my writing.

I've let people - those who you'd think would be supportive and interested - say things to me like "Oh, I just don't think to look at your blog." Or, when told about a published story or a current writing project, respond with, "Uh-huh, uh-huh. Right, right." Or consistently ask how my husband's work is going...then don't ask about my work, my writing. 

What bothers me more than anything is the thought that I somehow gave these people permission to do this. Oh sure, my writing is on conversational par with the weather. Of course, my husband works a "real job" while I just twiddle my thumbs. How in the world did I let this happen?!

I know how. It's simple. I'm a wimp. I don't like confrontation. The first time someone disrespected my writing, I was too surprised to say I just let it go. And I kept letting it go.

Until now.  

I'm not going to go all She Hulk and start yelling at people. I can't make people respect me and what I do. I can't make them ask about my writing. I can't make them care. But I can shorten the frustrating conversations, shorten my responses to self-absorbed emails. I can take my energy elsewhere. I can pour it into projects that feed my soul, into people who I respect and who respect me, and into saving my sanity.    

Let's make sure we teach people how to treat us - and our art - with respect. If you already do that, keep going strong! If you're starting out, take baby steps and know you are not alone....  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Follow Fest - 2014!

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This is my first time participating in Melissa Maygrove's Follow Fest Blog Hop, and all of us here at The Shellshank Redemption are excited about having folks visit us. (The tortoises are even happier to let me go out and do all the blog hopping - even though they have four legs, they're pretty short ones.)

Looking forward to meeting everyone!


Name: Madeline Mora-Summonte

Fiction or Nonfiction: Fiction

What genres do you write? Contemporary, dark contemporary, horror

Are you published? Yes. My most recently published stories are listed on my blog's sidebar, and my flash fiction collection, The People We Used to Be, is available as an ebook on Amazon. 

Tell us a little about yourself: I am a writer, a reader, a beach-comber and a tortoise-owner. And as big a fan as I am of AMC's The Walking Dead, I still have zero chance of surviving the zombie apocalypse. I'm so slow the tortoises can - and will - outrun me. 

What are you reading right now? An ARC of Christopher Scotton's The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. And I just finished the fantastic young adult novel, Girls Like Us, by Gail Giles. 

Which authors influenced you the most? Stephen King  

Where can people connect with you?