Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: My New Best Frenemy


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During June's IWSG, I talked about going through some stuff, and I just wanted to thank you all for the support. You made me feel less alone, less weird in the world. I put on my big girl Minion pajama pants and got back to it. I'm managing the anxiety, the depression. I've got stories simmering, and I'm working that creative muscle. 

Speaking of muscles, the dreaded treadmill - or, as I've seen it referred to, the "dreadmill" - is my new best frenemy. But . . .  it's so boring! I can't read on it. I don't want to watch shows or movies because I want to give my eyes a break. I usually listen to music or podcasts, but I need new ones, more variety. I'm so desperate I might even try that machine where you use your arms AND your legs at the same time. (Lord help us. My next IWSG post might be from the hospital.) Any suggestions for things to listen to, for ideas to keep me going?

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IWSG's JULY QUESTION: What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing? 

Hmm, not sure if this is the best thing, but it's one of my favorites: I'd submitted the beginning pages of my horror manuscript to an agent at a writing conference. At our appointment, he looked at the pages in his hand, looked at me kind of funny, then said, "You look so normal."

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I'm co-hosting July's IWSG, along with Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott. I love being part of IWSG, and I'm thrilled I can help out in this way.

137 comments:

  1. Thank you for hosting today, Madeline. That is so funny to think writing horror requires a warped appearance. Everyone knows it takes a warped mind! Just kidding. Still a nice compliment from the agent.

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    1. I know! I'm not exactly sure who - or what?! - he was expecting.... :)

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  2. I too find my 'dreadmill' boring. Sorry, I've no fancy ways to make it less so, but I'm open to ideas! I love your term and am stealing it! :)
    Yes, I love that too, 'You look so normal' - no greater compliment! LOL

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    1. Make sure you come back later and see if anyone else has any great ideas for the "dreadmill." I wish I could say I came up with the name, but I didn't, I just read it somewhere.

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  3. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.
    Happy to hear you found your balance and you are writing away. Great.

    I get on the treadmill also. Twice a week and I listen to music. Had to laugh about your comment from the agent. That meant it was good. It got him.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. I realized recently that my music is so old it might as well be the mixed tapes I listened to back when I was in school. :)

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  4. "You look so normal." <---Love it!! That would be my favorite, too. :)

    My significant other listens to music when he uses that machine where you use your arms AND your legs at the same time. When I use it, I mostly have to concentrate on not falling off. No hospital trips yet, so knock on wood!

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    1. It really was such a fun compliment!

      I would "knock wood" for you but that would definitely throw off my balance.... :)

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  5. Hahahaaa....good one!!!!!! I love it!!! Must've been an awesome beginning!!!

    Thank you for co-hosting today!

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    1. It was! Of course, it was the rest of it that fell apart. Sigh.

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  6. You look so normal - hilarious!
    Thanks for co-hosting today.
    Sorry music isn't enough for you on the treadmill. If you try the elliptical, you might find it more engaging.

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    1. I like listening to music to a point, but I don't know the best way to find new music, stuff I like etc, so I get bored.

      Sure, I might find the elliptical more engaging...for the few seconds I manage to stay on it. :)

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  7. That's so funny. You do look normal. I always watch TV on the treadmill but a thing you can do is vary speed, incline and set short goals that then add up to a lot of time and calories spent.

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    1. I do vary the speed and incline and that works for a bit. I end up looking at the clock too much though when I do that. Counting down until the tough interval is finally over. :)

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  8. HA! What a statement. "You look so normal." That's great.

    I have an elliptical machine and I use it a lot in the winter. I just listen to music. I don't get too bored, but then again, I tend to exercise very hard for around 30 minutes which isn't too long. For a long "walk" I would consider audio books. Or walk outside somewhere for variety.

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    1. I absolutely prefer to walk outside - it's just too hot right now, unless I go early. I don't usually listen to music or anything then - too busy looking around, I guess. :)

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  9. I like the agent's comment. You are SO normal Madeline ;) And please don't post from the hospital, just listen to some audio books or your favourite music.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

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    1. I might look normal on the outside but on the inside? Not so much. :)

      I never really thought about audio books. I usually go with podcasts because they're shorter and more varied.

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  10. Does your hours overlook a lake? Probably not. Besides, you said you want to give your eyes a break. Music seems your best bet. Sorry, that's all my tired brain can come up with. Thanks so much for co-hosting.

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    1. The view out the window is actually pretty nice - trees, a glimpse of a lake. It is restful on the eyes. It just gets a bit boring after awhile.

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  11. Oh, the dreadmill! I know that drudgery. I usually go to the YMCA and the gym is upstairs. There's lots of windows. So I can look out into the woods or over in the swimming pool, or I can watch one of the TVs. I never listen to anything while exercising because I hate earbuds.

    Awesome compliment! Hehehe! Thank you for co-hosting today. :)

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    1. Having windows and a nice view totally helps. I don't love earbuds either, but I hate all the surrounding stuff more. :)

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  12. Thank you for co-hosting!

    I dread my treadmill too. Been way too long since I touched the thing. It's collecting dust as I type. I look out my window at the trees and listen to a comedy show that's on in the morning. I love to laugh because it makes the time fly by.

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    1. Listening to some comedy is a wonderful idea! It would totally make the time go faster. So going to look into that! Thanks!

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  13. LOL!!! Bwahahahaha! You are a master of the dark and suspenseful. I totally get why he said that.

    If I were you, I'd totally be doing audio books. From the library. Or an audible subscription.

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    1. Ha! Glad you got a kick out that. :)

      And I'm definitely making a note of audio books.

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  14. Fantastic, "You look so normal."
    Sorry the treadmill isn't working for you. I actually miss it, but I'm not complaining. I enjoy my elliptical. I alternate between music, podcasts, and audio books; in a pinch I've even been known to use the text-to-speech feature on my Kindle. I know you want to rest your eyes, but I also sometimes watch nature shows just to mix it up a bit and feel like I'm outside.

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    1. I never really thought about watching something like a nature show. That would be different for me, and a nice change of pace in case I do want to stop just listening and start watching.

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  15. I feel your pain about the treadmill and the will to keep going. Right now I'm in a slump so I'm not the best person to give fitness advice other than to keep on going.
    As far as the nicest thing someone said to me about my writing: Many years ago I was questioning my talent and a writer, whose father was a preacher, encouraged me to keep writing. He said, "Don't hide your light under a basket."

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    1. Come on back and see if any of these wonderful comments help drive you out of that slump!

      I've heard that saying before, and I love it. Great reminder!

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  16. LOL LOL I love that agent's comment! Perfect. :D
    And you made me laugh about the dreadmill. Can't imagine a more fitting name.
    Have fun co-hosting!

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    1. You all are loving that agent's comment! :)

      Isn't it a great name? I wish I had thought of it.

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  17. I love that agent's comment too. I would take it as a compliment. :)

    I have a treadmill, but I don't run, so I can read on it. No, it's not the easiest thing to do, but it works when I get tired of watching TV.

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    1. I definitely took it as a compliment. :)

      I'm lucky I can walk on the treadmill let alone run!

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  18. "You look so normal." What a great compliment from your agent. Which begs the question, where do these graphic spine tingling scenes come from? Thank you for hosting IWSG. Nice to meet you.

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    1. I wish he was my agent! But alas, he's not.

      I'm not sure I want to know where those scenes come from. Too scary. :)

      And nice to meet you, too!

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  19. That's hilarious. It's always funny what people assume about us because of what we write. I write mostly romance and people tend to think I have a very exciting, romantic, breathtaking sort of life. HA! If I did I wouldn't have to write romance. ;)

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  20. Could you listen to audiobooks whilst exercising?

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    1. A few people have mentioned that so far, and I definitely think I'll give audiobooks a try one of these days. :)

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  21. I'm voting audiobook as well, because that's what I prefer, though I often spend the time in silence too, working through lines or plot holes in whatever story has my attention at the moment. I run with my sis-in-law and she said she could play music through a player that we could listen to. I declined. It's one of those times that are kid and distraction free, so I'm going to use it for my stories.

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    1. I like the idea of working through writing issues, and I kind of do that, too, but way in the back of my brain. I'm not sure what I would do, though, if I was suddenly struck by an awesome idea...I'd probably fall off the treadmill in my search for pen and paper. :)

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  22. Haha. I love that! "You look so normal." Hilarious. Like how else are you supposed to look? Like an axe murderer? Lol.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month! :)

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    1. I know! Who - or what - was he expecting exactly? :)

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  23. Hahahahaha! I burst out laughing at that comment from the agent, who I feel should know better than that! What did he expect? Horns and a fiery trident? LOL
    Perception is a strange and dangerous thing, eh?

    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG today!
    Writer In Transit

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    1. I know he didn't mean anything negative by the comment. I really think it all took him by surprise. Although, I do kind of like the idea of that fiery trident. :)

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  24. I would definitely suggest listening to audio books. George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones would be perfect if you're running a marathon. Even with a one hour commute, it still took me over a month to listen to the first book.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG.

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    1. Oh, I am so not running a marathon!

      I'm a little late to the party re: reading GoT. I'll probably just stick with the awesome TV show. :)

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  25. Maybe your mystery was so bizarre he was surprised someone could write it and be normal. In which case, that's a total compliment. You fooled him. HAHAHA!!!! Just kidding! :P <3

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  26. I hope we all look normal. hehehe Good to know the wheels turn under it all though. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Oh, those wheels are turning and turning...I could use a break now and then. :)

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  27. Love the compliment. I see why its a favorite. Great story behind it too. Happy IWSG
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. It really is a favorite. Makes me smile every time. :)

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  28. Thanks for the laugh! I needed that today. And thanks for hosting. I run outside--hopefully before 6:30 a.m. so it's not over 85 degrees in the Sonoran desert yet--and listen to "rock my run" tunes as I view the mountains and brainstorm plot twists....helpful?

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    1. You're welcome for the laugh!

      And thanks for the idea of "rock my run" tunes. Although, I might need more like "wiggle my walk" songs. :)

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  29. LOL, funny comment from the agent. Thanks for being a co-host!

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  30. Tee hee! Did you cackle with glee? Waggle your eyebrows knowingly? Finger the jack knife in your pocket?

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    1. I think I was more surprised than anything else. I guess that made two of us!

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  31. Funny you asked! My writing group has a podcast on Soundcloud called The Write Cast: https://soundcloud.com/the-write-cast. We've done five so far and have a new one out on the first of each month.

    Have you ever considered a Trek Desk? It lets me do my work while I walk. The time goes by really fast that way, and I get some exercise in.

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    1. Now that's a coincidence! :)

      I have a Stand Stand so I can stand at my desk and work. I'm lucky I can manage standing still without falling over. Do more than one thing at time? Sheesh! :)

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  32. Here from Alex's blog. REally like your blog so I'll be following. The agent's comments were funny. Did he pick you up as a client? Fingers crossed for you. Best wishes with your WIP.

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    1. Welcome, Andrea! Glad you could join us here at TSR!

      I wish he had become my agent! The ms needed A LOT of work, and I ended up putting in the drawer for a bit. But one of these days, I WILL pull it out and do something amazing with it. :)

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  33. I'm sorry, but your post made me laugh. "Dreadmill" is definitely the truth. I know what you mean. I never know what to do to make it tolerable. It can get quite boring. I like Joanna Penn's podcast "The Creative Penn". Any music you want to sing along too is great too. Hopefully you won't be posting from your hospital bed. Thank you for co-hosting.

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    1. I'm glad this post made you laugh! I don't usually write "funny" so when that happens, I'm pleasantly surprised. :)

      If I sang out loud while on the treadmill, I would clear that gym faster than the worst smelling stinky sweaty gym clothes.

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  34. What a great story! I hear you about the exercising. I have a jogging trampoline in my basement. When I get down there, I try to find some series on demand that I have to watch. Then I work out for one episode and then look forward to the next. Downton Abbey being over has had negative impact...

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    1. That's an interesting idea - working out for the length of an episode....

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  35. Sounds like a compliment for a horror writer. Thanks for co-hosting!

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  36. Sorry I don't listen to podcasts, but I do download audio books from the library. If you have a library card, go to overcome.com and check out how to listen to the books. I joined the gym here this summer, but I don't go near those torture machines. Just wanted to do yoga, but may try a machine since you and a lot of others are into it. Glad you're feeling better!!

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    1. I definitely have a library card and will be looking into borrowing audio books.

      The gym where we live has a number of those "torture" machines as well. The treadmills are the easiest to use. I do like the exercise bike, too. Probably because I can sit down. :)

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  37. HA! Best response ever. I don't think anyone has ever said that about me ;-) Thanks for co-hosting.

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  38. That's the type of comment that should make you smile.

    I'm not a fan of the dreamill, but when I use it, I read. I wonder how an audio book might work.

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    1. I would love to read while on the treadmill, but I can't. I think it has something to do with looking at the page and moving at the same time. I can't read while riding in the car either.

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  39. I love when you can surprise someone that you wrote something. It means you're getting into your characters enough that they seem real to that reader! Congratulations!

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    1. Great point! Although, I'm not sure I want to get into some of my characters' heads any more than I have to.... :)

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  40. LOL... That agent is too funny!

    UGH the treaded exercise. Man do I get that.... I put on a ton of weight this winter and am having a hell of time trying to get my butt back in gear. You should try books on audio. That will really help with those BORING hours on the Dreadmill...

    Just keep focused and try to have SOME FUN!

    All the best with your writing. I know how hard it is to pull it together when you are under stress and anxiety. Just remember your are NOT ALONE...

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. Thanks so much, Michael! It's been a struggle getting back into gear, getting the weight off again. But we can - and will - do it! And I'll try to have some fun, too. :)

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  41. Dreadmill. Snort! I create a playlist of music for each one of my books and saturate my creative energies with it. It's always different - country, 50s, classic rock, classical. You should see the looks I get when this granny has Rob Zombie banging out of her car windows! I used to put in some serious miles on the elliptical to AC/DC!

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    1. Love that! Great idea to use writing playlists to work out to. Kind of like killing two birds with one stone.

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  42. At least you have space for your exercising frenemy at your house. People keep using physical appearance as a judging meter. We need to see beyond that. Unless you look at that person and get a bad git feeling. Then run...or walk away at a brisk pace.

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    1. I'm trying to lose weight more for my health than anything else. Sure, I wouldn't mind wearing a few sizes smaller, but right now it's more about energy and vitality.

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  43. Hahaha, that comment from the agent is GREAT. I'm glad to hear you're up and carrying on. I have some favorite soundtracks for working out. My top 3 are soundtracks from "So I Married an Axe Murderer" "Swingers" and "Shrek" or is it "Shrek 2"? Maybe both.

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    1. Yep, I'm up and carrying on - not that fast or that far but I'll take what I can get. :)

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  44. What a wonderful remark for a horror writer. LOL.

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  45. Ooh, I love your compliment! Lol! And for all the reasons you mentioned on the dreadmill, I don't do it either. I have to get somewhere to exercise I guess. I second audio books. That's how I get through long drives. And thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I rarely listen to audio books so now I'm trying to decide if I want to "read" my usual fiction or give nonfiction a shot.

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  46. Never been on a dreadmill but when I use to go to the gym I did use the machines where I used my legs and arms at the same time. That’s hilarious he said that but guess you couldn’t get a better compliment than that. Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. I like the idea of that machine, but I am so not coordinated enough at this point. I'm lucky I can walk a straight line on the treadmill - thank goodness for the railings! :)

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  47. I'm fond of creating "workout" playlists on youtube. The commercials are a bit annoying, but they give me a chance to "break" for a slowdown before starting up a more heart-thumping pace again. I don't like to go the same pace all the time - I try to choose some slower tunes and some faster tunes to give me variety, and then I add or delete songs to my workout as the workouts continue. I'm also a fan of trying to mix up biking and walking. I totally get the Dreadmill - one of my least favorite machines.
    I loved that comment!!! I've gotten that too, except sometimes it's followed with - "you look like someone who would write romance." What? (No offense to romance authors, but I can't figure out how being 40ish and nerdy translates to 'you look like a romance writer.')

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    1. Hee hee on the romance writer comment! :)

      I might start alternating the treadmill with the exercise bike. My preference is to be outside, though, so I might just need to get my butt up earlier and go out when it's way "cooler." Or wait until the Fall. :o

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  48. "You look so normal." Priceless. I hope your story got published! I hope that Dreadmill is working out. I'd rather just get into the zone and dream...:-)

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    1. I'd love to daydream on the treadmill - it's just hard to do when you're gasping for breath! :)

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  49. Thanks for co-hosting, Madeline! It's a fun way to give back to the IWSG, and I hope that you have enjoyed your day! The agent's comment cracked me up! I'm sure lots of people have gotten a kick out of it as they visited your blog today!

    I walk on a treadmill several times a week, but I usually don't listen to music. I'm in a small workout room, and I often talk to the people there while I'm walking because we all know each other. I usually mess around with the settings, especially the speed and incline to mix it up a little, and sometimes I walk backwards on it.

    If I'm not talking, I use the time to think and to work out things in my life ~ like map out a letter or email in my mind, or rehearse a difficult conversation, or figure out what the most pressing priority is in all that I have to do. And sometimes I work on writing in my head while I'm walking on the treadmill, especially when I'm struggling with a piece. The rhythmic, repetitive walking frees my mind.

    When all else fails, I remind myself that movement is life, and I want to be able to move as I get older. I think of all the places I want to visit, and all the active things I long to do. I even motivate myself by saying, "If I walk 10 more minutes, I'll add 20 good minutes to my life."

    Oh yeah, my husband, my trainer, and I all have fittest linked up so we know who is getting the most steps in a day. Now that is a motivator, although I'll admit it's not for everyone! LOL




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    1. I LOVE co-hosting! It's work, but it's so much fun!

      And I really think I might have to steal this part of your comment for my own motivation:

      "When all else fails, I remind myself that movement is life, and I want to be able to move as I get older. I think of all the places I want to visit, and all the active things I long to do. I even motivate myself by saying, "If I walk 10 more minutes, I'll add 20 good minutes to my life." "

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  50. Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

    This summer, I've been swimming laps at the local pool so I can work out and soak in the sun at the same time. If you have access to a swimming pool, maybe you can try going there sometimes instead of the treadmill and see if it makes a difference.

    It looks like something you'd written must've incited the agent's interest!

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    1. I love the pool, but the sun is not my skin's friend at the moment. Definitely something I'll keep in mind though!

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  51. My most recent favourite podcast is "This American Life". Real stories about real people. Great stuff.

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  52. Ugh. I get stuck in a rut with exercise too. Mine devil machine is the stair master. I call it stairway of hell...but really great music helps me...so does interval training. I also bought some really great exercise DVDs to shake up the routine a bit. The compliment? Awesome! I wish you the best in your health and writing projects. :)

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    1. Now, if the treadmill and the stair master had a baby...yikes!

      Good suggestion re the DVDs!

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  53. I love to run at the gym. Like you, I enjoy listening to music rather than watch something. Oddly enough, I find it difficult to walk/run when I'm trying to pay attention to a TV screen. Music is great, especially dance type music. I have also been listening to Bond, an electric string group. They play some really upbeat and catchy songs.

    But, there are other times when I don't listen to anything at all. I just run. It's times I do this I seem to get most of my writing done. No, I'm not running while typing, but the increase in endorphins seems to ramp up my creativity. I begin thinking of my writing projects and many problems I have been facing have been solved this way.

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    1. That's an excellent point about the ramping up of creativity. I usually have a period of time after walking or other exercise/activity where my brain feels all charged up. Of course, soon after, I'm in desperate need of a nap but for that little while.... :)

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  54. "You look so normal." lol I love it!!!!

    Oh man, music is my thing so I guess I won't be helpful except for repeating what most said about trying audiobooks. Sorry!!! But . . . in the coming months, I'll be trying my hand (or my voice) at co-hosting a Podcast on writing. Maybe you'll be open to giving me some critique once it's up? At worst, I'll put you to sleep, in which case you'll at least be rested and most definitely won't end up in the hospital from over exercising lol

    ~~~
    S.K. Anthony: The Decline in Ebooks — It’s Not What You Think

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    1. I still enjoy listening to music! It's just my stuff is so old! I need to get myself to start listening to some new things, see if I can add to my playlists. :)

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  55. I can't write to music but find music keeps me on the recumbent exercise bike longer than TV or silence. I like country music for the tempo, but also love Adele and even a little classical from time to time. At least with the bike I can close my eyes while exercising...with the treadmill I'd probably fall off. :D

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    1. Closing my eyes on the treadmill is definitely not on an option! Maybe switching it up and trying the exercise bike would be a good idea.

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  56. Hahaha! I LOVE what the agent said! That qualifies in my mind... Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  57. I need new music too. Usually I go to my kids for it... They are in their 20s and I love finding out what they think is good...

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    1. You all are certainly enjoying that comment!

      Good idea turning to your kids for music suggestions!

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  58. Thank you so much for co-hosting the IWSG July blogging session. I've just joined the group and I've just joined your blog. Please be careful with the exercise equipment. The next thing we know, you'll be using it as a horror device in your next manuscript. All the best!

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    1. Welcome to IWSG! And thanks for joining us here at TSR!

      Okay, now you know I'm going to have to put a haunted and/or maniacal treadmill in a story somewhere.... :)

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  59. I guess authors aren't supposed to look normal, right? LOL Still, that's a compliment...of sorts. Thanks for co-hosting this month. Best wishes.

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    1. I totally took it as a compliment. But then again, I am a little weird. :)

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  60. Aww <3. Hey, I started using that at the gym! There are a few different types, so I've been able to read on my phone. :D

    Thanks for co-hosting!

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    1. I don't think I'd be able to read on my phone - I'd need my iPad for the bigger screen and larger fonts. :)

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  61. Love it! I guess it means your horror carries conviction :)

    As for the treadmill...I assume that outdoors isn't an option? Either way, I strongly recommend recorded books. I find that a much better distraction than music, and there are so many choices!

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    1. It scares ME a little that my horror writing is that convincing! :o

      I'm debating whether I want to start with fiction or nonfiction for an audiobook....

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  62. Well, axe murderers do look so normal, lol. Good job with the writing :)

    When you find that distraction let me know, I could us it on my elliptical.

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    1. Oh no! I never thought of it like that! :o

      There's been some really good ideas re distraction in the comment thread here.

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  63. Ha, that's hysterical! I've had people introduce me like this: "She writes horror, even though she looks too sweet to." Well...thanks?

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  64. The agents comment actually made me laugh out loud - what a great thing to be told. Your writing so got to him he had to check.

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    1. Maybe I should start writing comedy! You all are enjoying this way too much. :)

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  65. Thank you for hosting the IWSG this month. That compliment for a horror story - " You look so normal" is as wonderful as it is funny.
    I find podcasts a great way to while away exercise time - I listen to current affairs discussions on BBC and The Economist.

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    1. I do enjoy podcasts. I think I just need to find some new ones so I have more variety.

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  66. Hmmm...the best thing that someone ever said about my writing? I think it would be the time that someone told me that what I wrote made their bd day a better day. That made me feel good :)

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  67. I don't listen to podcasts or such, so I can't really give you any recommendations for the dreadmill.

    Love the agent's comment. One of my favorite writers reminds me of an aunt and always makes me chuckle because she writes PNR.

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    1. I recently deleted some old podcasts and added a new one plus some more music. Stuff from back in the day but what ever gets me moving! :)

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  68. Best of luck with your frenemy. I go on walks outside. I like it better than the machines. Maybe some mood music would help, a mix that keeps you energized and want to dance.

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    1. Walking outside is definitely my preference, but it is so incredibly hot here right now. I tend to push myself harder on the treadmill anyway.

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  69. Madeline, I have a lot of trouble listening to audiobooks when I'm relaxing in a chair, but maybe it would work while we're on the treadmill (or in my case, riding the recumbent exercise bike). I may have to look into that for myself because up to now, I've been watching TV or listening to music radio.

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    1. I can't sit and listen to podcasts either - I have to be doing something, like folding laundry or exercising.

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