Blog Archives

What’s on my nightstand?

There seems to always be an interest in what authors are reading. Make no mistake, most of us are always reading something. Some of our favorite places are bookstores after all. So, I’m going to do a recurring posting series talking about books I’m reading and what I think of them. Hopefully I’ll be able to promote some of my fellow independent authors in doing this too.

phone-1052023_960_720I admit that I’m a slow reader. Between a day job that consumes many of my waking hours and trying to write my own fiction, this blog, and market the whole, I don’t get a lot of time to read for pleasure. But there is always something on my Goodreads shelf, Kindle Fire, and bedside table.  In fact, I’m one of those people who start a lot of books and take forever to finish them. If you want to follow me or connect over on Goodreads, I welcome you to check out the profile by clicking here.

So, what am I reading?

Big Magic

BigMagicPB

Big Magic cover courtesy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s website. https://www.elizabethgilbert.com/

 Creative Living Beyond Fear – by Elizabeth Gilbert

This book is a great read for anyone who is ready to make the leap into a more creative lifestyle. I found it to be both inspiring and practical really. Gilbert doesn’t mince words when it comes to the valid fears that come up when you consider embracing your creativity.

She talks about various concepts that depict creativity as a series of experiences that are almost spiritual in nature. It is not a new concept. In fact, I find that the more creative people I talk to, the more I find most of us hold that belief about our own unique experiences in living this creative life. And there is something almost transcendental about bringing something to life on the page, easel, or whatever other media you choose to work in. What it definitely takes to do that is courage.

Big Magic is a huge pep talk for creatives. Wonderfully modern and frank in tone, Elizabeth Gilbert essentially tells creators to push aside the fear more often than they give into it. Reminders that while ideas are always out there, they may not all work out or be great ideas for a particular artist. The key is to step out and make the art instead of wishing we were or pining away for a life we aren’t willing to allow ourselves to lead.

I am definitely taking a page from her book of wisdom.  Realizing that life is about discovering what we are capable of.  I’m taking steps to write more and put myself out there more. Which is why you see me more often here and hopefully on the Amazon virtual book shelves in coming months.

What is your favorite book on creativity? I can always use more on my shelves.

Stop over and check out my Amazon Author Page for my latest work in print. All available in both Print and Kindle format. And don’t forget to subscribe so you can get the latest posts from yours truly.

Kids & The State of the Fluff

I am in a very different place than I was a year ago. The changes have been remarkable really. My level of happiness is through the roof. My energy level has its ups and downs but, overall I am going along just swimmingly. The move has been a big boost in motivation for me. There are just so many things going on at once that I have moments where I’m a bit overwhelmed. Adjusting to what is essentially a brand new life isn’t easy but, I have to say that this change has been pretty seamless.

I’ve gone from living with my parents to living in my own home with my fiance and our little girl. So, I’m not just part time momma anymore. In fact, we’ve had to seriously adjust to being mom full-time. There are things about being a full-time mom that are very different from having a kid a weekend here or there like I did with my ex. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those weekends with her for the world. I always tried to treat her like she were my own kid – despite my ex’s constant reminders that she wasn’t mine or my responsibility. But having a little one in the house full-time is a very different experience.

Back on the 4th of June, I attended her Kindergarten graduation ceremony and her classroom party with her Dad. I was asked to be there and I gave up a trip to Florida with my mom to see family I haven’t seen in a long time in order to be there. Not to mention, the trip to Disney World. What was striking about this to me was that the teachers had asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Every kid gave an answer that the teachers told the parents and families as they walked across the stage to shake the principal’s hand. For Kat, her answer was that she wanted to be a really good momma.

I am learning that I have to be an example to her. She mimics everything I do. For example; over the weekend we had the opportunity to have my parents over for dinner. My mom had just come back from her trip. She brought a pretty sentimental piece of furniture for my new home and we wanted to unload it from the truck so it wouldn’t be in the weather. I had borrowed her steam mop to get the floors done when we moved in. So, I took the opportunity to use it one more time before she took it back home with her.

I had asked Kat to stay in the other room as I did the kitchen and dining room. And she was being good and doing as she was asked. What was funny was when I looked over at her, she had our broom. As I was mopping the floors, she was pretending to mop with the broom. Every stroke I made, she matched. I thought it was just her playing around at first and laughed it off. But then, there were other things I started noticing; like her copying my mannerisms at the dinner table. 

So, I am really starting to think about how I’m living my life. What do I want for her when she grows up? How can I show her what those things are and why they are better? And I came to a realization that the biggest thing I can do for her is set the example of living a healthy lifestyle.

I am already much more active than I have been in the past. Let’s face it though, writing requires me to be fairly sedentary for a great deal of time. I want to be even more active when I can. So when a family member suggested me coming two nights a week to do Zumba with her, I agreed. And I took Kat with me the first time.

Talk about a challenge! Oy Vey! We managed to get through half of the beginner set before we were all gasping for air and wanting water. I think it was a shocker for us all to see just how out of shape we really are. Yet, we were having fun while getting that mini-workout. I know it will take time to learn the moves. Frankly I want to get the DVD and do it at home. It was a blast and I can’t wait until I can actually dance like these people can who do it. I know it will help my coordination and I also know that if I cycle it out with yoga, I’ll likely get my flexibility back as well.

I’m excited though. I think I have found something that may prove to be my niche for exercise. More importantly I think I’ve found something that I can do that will allow me to help make physical activities fun for Kat as well. She had a ball trying to do the dance. So much so, that Charles and I are talking about how to get her into dance classes thinking that it may help with her coordination and balance. We’ll just see how things shape up over the summer. We have a lot to accomplish but we’re getting there.

Just continuing to plug along. And once I get unpacked and find my files again, I plan to get back to tracking everything like I was and posting the health sheets for you all to use as well. Just keep being patient with me. I just have a lot going on and I am still trying to stay on schedule to publish The Fallen One late this summer so I’m stretched a little thin.

State of the Fluff….

First off, apologies to all of you dear followers and readers. If you’ve been following for the last couple weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to keep something of a schedule here on The Writer’s Studio while finishing continuity edits and trying to juggle everything else going on. I have been slacking a bit the last few days though. For that, I do apologize.

You see, I am incredibly blessed. I have an amazing family that includes my fiance and our six year old. A whole group of extended family and well, because I enjoy it, I spend a good amount of time over there with them. The weekends are the typical time for me to spend all day but, Charles has had a few days off from his job and it is our little girl’s last week of Kindergarten.

We are all excited to be attending her graduation tomorrow morning. So, why am I sitting here at nearly midnight, when I have to get up at six in the A.M.? It would be an excellent question to ask.

BookCoverPreview1The answer is really quite simple though. There was more big news for me today. After more than two and a half weeks of waiting Amazon finally sent me the news that the technical glitch was fixed. That means, The Secret of the Storm is now available for purchase as a paperback edition as well as in ebook for the Kindle. It also means that I can finally start planning a book-launch event and booking signing events here in East Texas.

It is all very exciting for me. I’m sure that it will be something that I talk about often in the weeks ahead. Not to worry though, the blog isn’t going to become one big promotion for the book. There are plenty of other things I have to talk about and give my two bits on.

That being said, the state of the fluff lately is up in the air. I’ve been on the go, lost my voice intermittently thanks to some sort of allergy attack or cold, and haven’t been paying much attention to what I’m eating. So, we’re going to have to jump back on the band wagon at some point. I think I’m going go back to doing my “health sheets” to track and maybe that will give me some motivation. You’d think that a pending wedding would be enough, right?

Keeping it simple so that I can still get some rest. If you have ideas for book-launch events, how to get the word out about the book, or just words of encouragement (this is my first “major event” with our daughter as someone she calls Mom) I will gladly take them in comments or by email. If you haven’t liked my facebook page, feel free to. There is a box on the right for easy access. I look forward to meeting all the readers as time goes on. And yes, I do try to answer all my messages.

Wish me luck! And thanks for sticking with me. Share a link. My philosophy around here is; the more the merrier.

Writers Aren’t Hermits After All

291826_364783330281701_2094463518_nI fell prey to a stereotype a number of years ago that nearly cost me everything. You see, Hollywood and other media outlets have created this vision of what writers are. So often people have an image of what writers do that includes being sequestered away from the world, agonizing over every word, while we’re chain smoking or drinking heavily. Whether we’re actually alcoholics or just addicted to coffee or teas is another discussion entirely but, it is safe to say that the stereotype has us all addicted to something. I am certain that there are a great many authors out there who fit this stereotype quite well but, I am not one of them.

It strikes me as amusing that people think that we don’t interact with others or that we are hermits. We’re artists and in order to write about people, to create characters, we must actually interact with people to have an understanding of different personalities. We must, as Julia Cameron says, “fill the creative well” with ideas and inspiration. And ultimately it is in living life that we find that drive and push to be inspired to create whatever we become known for.

There is no denying that writing takes a certain amount of solitude. We learn that there are critical times in which we must get away and focus on what we need to accomplish. We do agonize over the right words, the grammatical faux pas, and even the right descriptions for our settings. It isn’t difficult to lose yourself for hours, days, weeks, sometimes even months while finishing a project. But the fact remains that eventually, all writers must get out of their offices and experience something outside its confines.

419149_427914573910922_1192315579_nI’ve always been a very vibrant personality. Just ask my mother, or any of my friends for that matter, and they will all tell you that I am quick to laugh, quirky, personable, and compassionate. They will also tell you that I can be quite the ham if you put me in front of a microphone. But that happens rarely these days. They’ll also tell you that for the last few years, I was very different from the person I had been. And they’ll likely say that they were worried about me.

It is funny how things can get away from you before you even realize it is happening. In my case, it was a sort of forced hermitage. Yes, I was writing but things came slowly. I was in a situation where I couldn’t go out and be around people other than my parents. And because I was trying to save a marriage that was failing miserably, I allowed it to happen. In the process I gained a lot of weight, became depressed, and eventually came to feel so isolated that I really didn’t think anyone would care if I just disappeared. There were days in which I sat for hours staring at my blank screen wondering where the words had gone. Other days, I gave up and played computer games or just slept. It was a dark time in my life that I honestly don’t care to repeat.

I suppose my ex thought that by keeping me at home the words would come and I would just be an overnight success and he could stay home after that. I don’t know how many times I tried to explain that counting on the books to make consistent full-time income was unrealistic. I mean, every writer wants to be a best-seller and make a million dollars. It isn’t a bad dream as long as it is tempered with a dose of reality. Keeping me at home wasn’t the way to make that dream a reality though.

Artists, including writers, need to be stimulated. We need fresh air, laughter, people to talk to, and experiences to write about. To relay anything to our readers we need to be able to experience it first hand. From the feeling of silk on your skin on a bed to the rush of riding a roller coaster, everything can be an experience. Emotions need to be experienced. Falling in love, coping with death, the birth of a child, parental love, the loss of a job, or even the thrill of taking a big vacation all of these things we can imagine but, to truly relate them we have to go through them ourselves in some way.

Putting the writing aside, you can’t sell books if you don’t meet people to tell about what you’re doing. You can only do so much of that online. Forums, facebook, blogs, and other social media will only take you so far. If you’re boring and all you post about is the fact that you released a book, it won’t get you any brownie points with the public. It certainly isn’t going to sell books.

Personally, my life has changed tremendously in the last six or seven months. I’ve gone from being at my lowest to feeling as though I’ve found not only my calling in career but also in life. I am experiencing emotions like love on an entirely new level. I am living life again and taking advantage of time with family and friends. I’m meeting new people, reacquainting with old friends, and it is very much a process of rediscovering myself.

My fiance doesn’t let me stay too busy for too long writing. Yes, he knows and understands that I need to work but he insists on getting out and doing things together. Whether it is taking the munchkin to the park, going out for ice cream, or going to church on Sunday morning we try to keep it simple. We try to make the most of the time we get together. He encourages me to go to writers groups and do things that I enjoy even if he doesn’t. We share so much that it seems rare that there is something we don’t want to do together. The truth is, it is really amazing having someone that is truly supportive of my efforts and what I want to do.

You can meet writers everywhere. We are out there among the waking world. We’re at the gym, in your Sunday school class, at the restaurants and cafes you frequent, and no matter when you walk in a bookstore, you’ll likely find a writer somewhere amongst the shelves.

Organizing The Life Of A Writer

When I’m writing, I start out as something known as a “pantser”. That is, I sit down for a number of days and just write. It can be anything from scenes to character sketches to outlining notes. Considering that I typically am working on multiple projects, I’ve found that this can become quite confusing. Now that I am starting to add elements to my life that include family outings, dates, marketing, and a day job… let’s just say my paper trail is so confusing that I don’t think a mouse could chew it’s way through it and make sense of even a little bit of it. So, it is time for me to get organized.

944e903479c324fa_Self_Motivation.xxlargeI’m off today to pick up some much needed supplies to get my writing in order. I need folders and a file box of some sort since the file drawer on my desk isn’t in any sort of working order at the moment. (When I moved out of my ex-husband’s apartment my desk got torn apart and the drawer hasn’t worked right since.) So, that’s part of my agenda. Funny thing is that I hardly work at my desk these days. I’m usually at a kitchen table or sitting on my boyfriend’s bed working. But, that’s no reason to not be organized about it.

I’ve gone back to the old habit of carrying a back pack. It keeps my laptop with me at all times and allows me to have my binder and notebook handy as well. I don’t see this as a bad thing but, I also plan to switch to an attache or messenger bag instead. Backpacks are a little young. I’ve also had to go back to another habit I had when I was in school. That is; living by my personal planner. Scheduling is becoming a huge thing for me.

Of course, I make time for family and the boyfriend and kid. However, I noticed that keeping track of things with work and now trying to book marketing events and appointments is impossible to keep all in my head. Until I get a tablet device my little binder dayplanner is going to be my best friend. I do plan to bring it into the 21st century though and use Google Calendar as well. Trying to keep both updated with deadlines, appointments, and what’s happening will help.

I think that this last year has been a defining one for me. 2013 is certainly a year of big change. Adding this pen name, getting out of  bad relationship, starting a new and amazing one… it only stands to reason that my writing career is going to follow suit. I have such an awesome support system locally. I’m trying to branch out and pull together online community as well. Doing that is going to be the tricky part. I’ve never been that successful at it in the past but, I’ve never been able to focus on things being good like they are now.

Its Friday folks! I get to do a couple of awesome things that I’ve been looking forward to all week. First of all, I get to go and see my boyfriend and the kiddo that I’ve not seen all week. I promised a six year old that I would be there when she got home from school after talking to her last night and hearing her say how much she loved and missed me. I also promised the boyfriend that I would be there today as well. He just doesn’t realize that he’s going with me to get some supplies at WalMart yet. He’s about to find out.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. I know I will. I’m about to get it all together finally and that feels amazing.