My Workspace Blog Hop

Or as my friend Rachel Carrera calls it “The Monkey Wrench in the Works.” :) Rachel is also the one who tagged me for this blog hop, the purpose of it being to showcase our workspace, that special place we create and find the joy in writing, and to touch on our process a bit. If you haven’t visited Rachel’s blog you’re missing out on a whole lot. She’s one of the most fun, energetic, real people I know in the blogoverse. Hop on over to visit her. I promise you won’t regret it! :)

On with the tour of my “sanctuary” that doubles as my office…

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My humble little desk surrounded by my necessities–laptop (yup, I’m a laptop girl because I take it everywhere) and my things that motivate my creative spark and life in general–paintings of scenes from a lake as well as a tiny canoe made from birch bark, my lamp shade reminding me to “live, laugh, and love,” a cross reminding me of the utmost important aspect of life, and pictures of my kids when they were younger. There’s even a little of my stained glass obsession there. My printed manuscript is to the left of my computer, a current work in progress.

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All my files are right by my side within reach, my planner–which I use loosely, as life is always changing the plans I have written down, but that’s okay with me. Life is for living and going with the flow. Without flexibility we’re bound to miss out on a lot of opportunities.

The notebook with the typewriter on it contains anything and everything about the cozy mystery series I’m working on. It goes everywhere I do because new ideas for the series, new character ideas, plot ideas, etc., seem to pop up at the strangest times.

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And here is my comfy chair I retreat to when studying the craft of writing and when I do my ten-minute writing practice with good old-fashioned pen and paper. I’m reading two different books at the moment, A Writer’s Book of Days which has the best practical advice and awesome writing practice prompts and is the book sitting on my chair, and Revision and Self Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell. His books have quickly become some of my favorites for instruction on the writing process. On the table in the bluish can is my staple–Simply Balanced cucumber mint sparkling water. Can’t live without it.

Moving on to tag some of my writer friends. If you’re not following them already you may want to consider doing so. They’re awesome ladies! :)

Michelle @ http://wolffdenpress.com/

Teresa @ https://homeandspirit.wordpress.com/

Marie @ http://writingwingsforyou.com/

Angela @ https://authorangelachristinaarcher.wordpress.com/

So, curious…do you have anything you keep at your desk that gets your creativity flowing? What are you working on at the present moment? Are you a planner or a pantser? Do you ever write with good old-fashioned pen and paper?

Carpe Diem

 

 

 

Light in the Midst of Darkness

The Soul

We have had some amazing weather in Colorado the past couple of days, and today was the best. I was running this morning in the warmth, even the breeze was gentle and warm, the sun’s rays reaching the depths of my soul. The renewed energy and lightness of spirit carried me for most of my run. And I realized how uplifting it is to have this break–or timeout, if you will–in the typically cold dark middle of winter. It gives me encouragement and a glimpse of  spring that awaits just around the corner. It has the same effect as when something good happens in the midst of a whole string of bad. It offers hope. I was even able to hammer out the run-through reading of the first draft of Shear Madness, making notes of changes that need to be made–characters that need to be further developed, the plot that needs to be deepened, paragraphs that may need to be cut, catching inconsistencies in timeline and settings, etc., most of that reading done while sitting on the patio in the sun. What a blessing.

And speaking of blessings, it’s exactly those blessings among the trials in this journey of life that offer us hope for something better yet to come. Those peaks that give us renewed strength and room to breathe after walking through a valley.

One of my peaks came this weekend when I was able to re-connect with a childhood friend over dinner.  We hadn’t seen each other for over thirty years, and yet we were able to recognize each other immediately and it was like we were able to pick up right where we left off.

Coincidence? Nah. I believe it was, and is, purely a blessing.

Kathy and Me 2

Carpe Diem

 

The Act of Writing vs. Being a Writer

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A lot of people write and a whole lot more have the desire to write. If you’re writing, you are, indeed, a writer. If you have the desire to write but haven’t actually put pen to paper–or fingertips to keyboard–you haven’t crossed the line yet from dreamer to writer. That being said it’s never too late to start. Here’s proof.

I wrote a post a while ago about finally calling myself a writer. And while that was a huge step for me, this past month it has come to mean even more. Sometime in this past month I began to realize that I’m not a writer just because I like to write. That would be akin to calling one an alcoholic just because s/he likes to drink. But rather, I couldn’t imagine my life without writing. Writing is so much a part of my desires and my life, that without it, I wouldn’t feel complete.

Pen

Examples that drove that point home to me are:

  • If I don’t write–and lately that means every day, at least something–I feel empty of the positive and consumed by an intense need to release that creative energy.
  • When I’m at work or play and when I’m not writing, I find myself studying people and their mannerisms, behaviors, word choices, etc., creating characters in my head.
  • When I’m on a road trip, whether it’s five miles or five hundred, I take in the scenery as if constructing the setting of my next novel.
  • The world is my creative playground.
  • I cherish my writer’s notebook like it’s another limb and it goes everywhere I do.
  • What others say about my love of writing doesn’t matter; it’s important to me.

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, he recommends getting motivated by writing a statement of purpose. I chose to do that and it is readily visible on the first page of my writer’s notebook. Mine begins as his does and then branches off a bit. My statement of purpose reads:

Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep writing no matter what, to learn everything I can on the craft, and to strive for my words to make a positive difference to even just one person. I am a writer.

What are your writing aspirations and dreams?

Carpe Diem

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Anaïs Nin

 

My One Word for 2015…and a Goal

Several years ago I abandoned the New Year’s resolution attempts for New Year’s goals. And three years ago I abandoned New Year’s goals for My One Word. I’m not going say one is better than the others, only that My One Word appealed to me. In fact, I think New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Sure most people break their New Year’s resolutions because, let’s face it, if habits were so easy to change, would we need resolutions? The point is what we do with that perceived failure–give up or get back on the horse, so to speak, and try again.

Never give up

And there’s a better chance of change if there’s an awareness–preferably written on paper so it’s concrete and can be referred to easily–of what one wants to change to better his/her life than if there’s nothing at all. If you resolve to work out more or eat better in the upcoming year and it only lasts a month or two, that’s a month or two of more working out or better eating than would have happened without the resolution. Not to mention that when you realized you broke it, it’s an opportunity to try and try again.

Thomas Edison

This year after thought and consideration, I’ve chosen to do a combination of two methods. In fact the rebel in me has taken life and created a variation of My One Word. I’ve decided to focus on two words rather than one, for no other reason than I want to see significant growth in my life in both areas.

My two words are:  (drumroll…)

LOVE & RISK

We are called to love one another as God loves us and that love covers a multitude of sins.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

To act–and re-act–in love will further my spiritual journey.

And risk? I tend to get so comfortable in my rut of day-to-day living, making sure everything is within my control. That comfort zone prohibits me from experiencing life fully and using the gifts given to me to make the world a better place. How can I grow if I don’t experience growing pains? How can I positively affect others and the world if I’m complacent in my quiet, afraid-to-take-risks world? That being said, that doesn’t mean I will be jumping out of an airplane or hang-gliding anytime soon. :)

So those are my two words for 2015. And it will likely take me a full year to get somewhat of a handle on them.

This year I’ve decided to add a resolution as well. A somewhat vague resolution, but a resolution nonetheless. I’m resolving to study the craft of writing. Writing in and of itself is something I have to do. For me. If I don’t, I feel like I’m missing a limb and truly find myself in a mental funk. But I don’t only want to write, I want to write the very best that I can. And what a better way to do that than to study the craft from those who have mastered it. I’m part of an online book club, Book Club for Writers, and right now we’re reading the book Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. What an amazing book! I’ve learned so much already. I would highly recommend it.

And with that, it’s time to go live this life I’ve been blessed with and begin to live My One Two Words and learn how to write. :)

How about you? Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? Have you tried the My One Word concept? What resolutions/goals have you made for 2015?

Carpe Diem

 

Wrapping up 2014

rearview mirror

It’s hard to believe that in just two short days we’ll be viewing 2014 and all of its cherished memories and experiences through the rear view mirror. While there are numerous quotes about the dangers of, and time wasted from, looking in the rear view mirror, I’m of the belief that it has its time and place. As long as we don’t keep our focus there for a prolonged period of time, lest we crash into our future rather than enter gracefully, looking back to review our successes and highlights of the year can serve us well. For that matter, remembering the not-so-happy moments aren’t a bad thing either. It reminds us that things can–and do–get better and the most important thing is to learn the lesson and find the golden nugget in the heap of mud. I used to tell my kids when they were growing up, “Always know where it is you want to go and have a plan to get there, but never, ever, forget where you came from.”

Here are my top take-aways from 2014–and I still have two more full days to fully live  in 2014… :)

  • I crossed off a major item from my Bucket List–one that has been on it for 30+ years…I published a book, The Inheritance.

 

The Inheritance

  • My son got married and bought his first house. So many memories I’ll cherish forever, especially the mother-son dance to the song Watercolor Ponies. For any of you with sons, it’s guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your lips.

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  • Hours upon hours of running, biking, and spending time in the great outdoors, the wind on my back, the sun on my face, my spirit lifted high.

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  • Priceless time spent with family–my husband, my sons, my granddaughter–how blessed am I!
  • Completing two first drafts of a cozy mystery series.
  • The first time hearing my granddaughter say “Grammy!” with so much enthusiasm. Oh, the sweetness!
  • Connecting with so many other writers in this blogging community who I am proud to call my friends.
  • The loss of Maya Angelou that reminds me to always be grateful and to truly live life to the fullest. Her spirit will live on forever.
  • The tragic loss of Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, both a heart-breaking, yet critical reminder of the importance of taking whatever steps necessary to cultivate my sober life.
  • Adopting the phrase “Carpe diem” as my mantra, because it sums up so much in so few words.

Seize the day, my friends, and I’ll see you in 2015.

Have a happy and blessed journey into the New Year.

Carpe Diem

 

 

The Butler Did It

Rhonda:

An entertaining writing lesson. :)

Originally posted on Rachel Carrera, Novelist:

Writers, you have got to watch this!  Normally I am not a fan of Al’s (at all!), but this definitely kept my attention… and made me laugh.  Trust me.  The less than four minute investment will be worth it.

Time to talk:  Are you guilty of any of the crimes depicted in this video?  Which do you appreciate more: the lyrics or the graphic art that went into the making of this video?  Do you like anything by Al?

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