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Knowing when to give up

Posted by on August 2 in Articles, Balancing Work and Life, Fiction Writing, Motivation and Inspiration, Non-fiction Writing, Productivity, Writing and Publishing | 0 comments

Knowing when to give up

But if you see something that truly doesn’t belong in you anymore? Be brave. Admit it. Acknowledge it.

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To Fold or Not to Fold

Posted by on July 28 in Articles, Facebook | 0 comments

To Fold or Not to Fold

Recently a friend on Facebook posed the question, “Read to the end of the chapter before you stop to sleep, or just stop where ever you are and go to sleep?”  In the course of the question he also made the comment that (paraphrasing here) it was absolutely horrible to fold the edge of the page in a book to mark your place while reading.  Many comments followed, some saying yes I fold, many agreeing with the original post, that folding was seriously NOT okay.  Of course his original question was also addressed in these many comments! (it was a tie on the actual question last time I looked!). A quick lesson on Facebook engagement before I go further with my commentary:  A great way to get folks to engage with your Facebook profile or page is to post a question that requires two sides of an issue or argument or thought process.  It creates an opportunity for your readers to interact with you, and with others who respond to your question.  It can also help you answer a question you might be grappling with yourself.  Or make you think about the way you do things. When I read his question, I began to think about when I started reading, and why my take on the page folding issue is contrary to my friend’s take.  I’m in the corner of, yes, it’s fine to fold the corner of the page.   It’s also fine to write in a book, underline passages, and doodle in the margins.  Now, I can hear the collective gasp from those purists amongst you that hardily and religiously disagree with all of that.  My friend actually responded to my comment that I will fold with “QUIT it!”  Let me explain my stance here. I started reading early in life.  My mom read to me when I was little, and she was a voracious reader.  So, as I grew up, I read all kinds of things.  From how-to books, to fiction, to nonfiction.  I read magazines, and newspapers, and most anything I could get my hands on.  In the course of all that reading, because we had to watch expenditures on extraneous things, I got second hand books quite often.  I would buy books at yard sales, second hand stores, etc.  So, of course, those books were not pristine. When I would get a book with underlined passages, I would read those passages, and then my imagination would take over about why that particular passage might have been important to the previous reader.  If I got a book with notes in the margin – it was an added bonus!  Another clue to why the person loved or hated the book, or found something interesting about that particular page.  It was like being a voyeur, and seeing into the minds of other people. Once I got to college, I bought mostly used books for my classes.  I always looked for used books with notes in the margins, and underlined paragraphs.  It was like having a cheat sheet for the classes I took.  And if I wound up with the same teacher the previous student had – SCORE! Today, if I’m in a used bookstore, I’m scanning the pages of the books I find interesting for those same things. ...

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Hesitation and jealousy

Posted by on July 21 in Articles, Balancing Work and Life, Motivation and Inspiration, Social Media, Writing and Publishing | 0 comments

Hesitation and jealousy

It happened again. I had a genius idea, years ago, and I sat on it. And guess what? Just like last time, someone else thought of it, acted on it, and the idea is going like gangbusters.

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3 Ways Curiosity is Your Best Friend

Posted by on July 2 in Articles, Fiction Writing, Productivity | 0 comments

3 Ways Curiosity is Your Best Friend

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother cold ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”  Not long ago, as I was cleaning out a room at my farm house, I came across an old picture of one of my great, great relatives.  Not sure if she was an aunt or a grandmother, but the picture dates back to the 1800’s.  It was in a frame that looked to be of about the same era, but the frame was coming apart, and not actually repairable.  I decided to take the picture out and discard the frame. I pulled the outer backing off, and it came apart as I did.  Then I started to peel back an old piece of paper from the back of the photo.  Rather than it just being a piece of paper, I discovered it was another picture!  A charcoal drawing of a man.  The paper felt like it would crumble in my hands!  Upon closer inspection, I saw that the only color in the drawing was the man’s eyes.  They were blue. It was rather creepy, yet fascinating.  There was no artist name on the drawing, no notation on the back to say who this man was.  So, I’ve started on a quest to try to find out who he might be. How does this story figure into why curiosity is a writer’s best friend?  Well… Number 1: By its very definition, “a desire to know,” curiosity creates questions.  Yes, these picture happen to be my family, but I would be asking just as many questions if I had found the drawing behind a picture bought at a yard sale, or estate sale.  I might have had the ability to actually search out who the person is like I have with the man potentially being a family member, but the questions of who it was, and why it was hidden would have still surfaced.  Curiosity propels us into the intrigue.  It demands that we at least try to solve the puzzle of who that person might be.  It is the life blood of a figuring out how to write a mystery, or even just flesh out a small intrigue, because it helps us know what questions our characters might ask if faced with a similar situation. Number 2: Curiosity leads us down paths we might not have otherwise trekked. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Curiosity killed the cat.”  Cats are notorious for sticking their paws into holes they can’t actually see into.  They inquisitive nature leads them to learn how to open doors they aren’t supposed to, or go into dark places where danger might lurk, just because.  This catch phrase has been used over the years to squelch curiosity, to stop us from wanting to go down that different path, to walk into that dark alley.  The fact that the eyes were the only color in the charcoal drawing seemed strange to me.  Especially for the time because colored pencils as an art medium didn’t come along until the 1920’s.  So, now, I want to know was that a common practice in the 1800’s or early 1900’s for charcoal artisans.  I wouldn’t have ever thought to look into that...

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A Willy-nilly Day

Posted by on May 20 in Articles, Balancing Work and Life, Motivation and Inspiration, Productivity | 0 comments

A Willy-nilly Day

There’s a soft rain falling.  I’m sitting at my desk with the window in front of me open.  Two cats are perched on the shelf in front of the open window that I put there specifically for them (but now tends to house stacks of papers and books).  They are tolerating each other well.   We’re all mesmerized by the sounds and the smells coming from the open window.  And comfortable just hanging out in the same room together. It’s been that kind of day, though earlier it was sultry.  (Hot and moist in the south equals air that’s like breathing in liquid, and a stifling wet heat that sinks into your clothes and all the way to the skin.)  But today, I spent tooling around with a friend of mine.  We went to an expo, had a coke, and then got mani-pedis.  A nice easy day of hanging out and saying: “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know.  What do you want to do?” In this push and pull world, we need days like I’ve had today.  To do nothing.  To have no agenda, no to-do list, no have-tos.  Just moving willy-nilly through the day doing whatever strikes our fancies.  It’s a destress, detox day where we remember how to be spontaneous and a little flighty.  The day is all about fun and relaxation. My day just happened to work out that way because I’m typically willing to let the day take me where it will.  You may not have that kind of flexibility, and may need to schedule a day to be willy-nilly.  But, do schedule it.  It’s amazing how much good it can and will do for...

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Connection levels and risk

Posted by on May 10 in Articles, Balancing Work and Life, Blogging, Non-fiction Writing, Social Media, Writing and Publishing | 0 comments

Connection levels and risk

If you tell people what you really think, in life or in business, there will always, always be those who don’t want to hear it.

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3 Simple Ways to Fill the Well

Posted by on April 7 in Articles, Balancing Work and Life, Motivation and Inspiration, Productivity | 0 comments

3 Simple Ways to Fill the Well

As creatives, we often spend so much time in the creative process we burn out.  Sometimes we understand why, and sometimes we don’t.  But I think the number one reason is because we forget to fill the well. We are a bunch of folks who have so much to say, so much to give, and so much to show, we are constantly fighting the battle of time verses the ability to produce.  We struggle through our day jobs, or our other responsibilities, and then meter out space for our creative outlets.  We doubt ourselves, we shelter our new born projects, or our old and most dear friends.  We spend time in our heads, or on the page, or the canvas, or the workshop. We forget, sometimes, we are people with needs as well. We forget that in order to continue to have output, we must also have input And we forget that input can be quite easy to achieve.  We see it as just another interruption we don’t have time for.  Trust me – we have time for it.  Not only do we have time for it, I would assert it is imperative to our continued enjoyment of our chosen creativity. So, with that in mind, here are three ways, three simple ways, to fill the well: 1. Read It really doesn’t matter if your writer or a painter or a woodworker.  Read.  Read a book outside  your genre.  Read about other painters.  Read about woodworking techniques from outstanding workers.  Read whatever you like – but READ.  It does wonders for the brain.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s an article that outlines the great benefits of reading.  2. Observe In reality, you don’t have to go far to step back for a bit and just observe things.  You can walk around your own home, and truly SEE what’s in it.  Take a long look as though you are a stranger in your own home, and see how you organize your life.  You can go to a park, sit on a bench, and get the benefits of not only people watching, but nature as well, plants and animals.  Breathe deeply, take a few moments, and just look at everything around you.  See how the squirrel moves.  See the tree branches sway in the breeze or the ripples the wind makes on water.  Look at the artwork in the park. Notice people.  See their movements, their laughter, the affection, or the pensive faces.  And here’s an interesting little article on how observing helps us learn!  3. Engage DO something where you must participate.  Be it game night with the family, a movie or dinner with a friend, an interactive experience like a science museum, or an escape game, or take a class, or go to a hibachi grill and actually talk to your table mates.  Take you dog on a walk and play.  Become a part of what’s happening, and not only an observer.  Talk to people.  Bring your sense of curiosity, and ask questions of them.  Whatever you do, bring your whole self to it.  Truly engage your senses, and most importantly, your brain.  And just for good measure here’s an article about how engagement helps us.  It really is easy to get stuck in a rut, especially if we’re introverts. ...

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The moment you get it right

Posted by on March 29 in Motivation and Inspiration, Quotes, Writing and Publishing | 0 comments

That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right…

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17 important tune-ups for your blog

Posted by on March 16 in Articles, Blogging, Facebook, Pinterest, Social Media, Technical Tips, Twitter | 0 comments

17 important tune-ups for your blog

If you’re wanting to put your best blogging self out there, here are some things to check up on or implement. Has your blog ever had these key features? If so, have they gotten rusty on you?

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