Posted in Personal, Writing

Avoiding Burnout

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of hard work and writing. The weather has turned colder and I’m putting off my outdoor run by writing this post. I’m hoping if I wait a little longer, it will warm up a little more. I think I’m hoping in vain, though.

But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about creative cycles. Sometimes, we get a little burned out with our writing and we need to switch gears to get our creative juices flowing again. What I’m talking about is ways to avoid full-blown burnout because none of us wants to lose that creative spark we have. So, below is a list I’ve put together to avoid burnout and have a long fruitful creative life.

Exercise

I put this one first because it’s one of the most important ways to keep creative juices flowing. Exercise is not only good for your body it’s good for your brain. Whenever, I get stuck in my writing, I go for a walk or a hike through the woods. It gets your blood flowing and gets your mind off your plot hole for a while, and many times I find that taking a step away from my work usually helps me figure out the plot hole.

I’m also talking about regular exercise as well. I think it’s important to have a regular exercise routine especially writers who tend to sit all day working on their manuscripts.

Other Creative Pursuits

It’s great to branch out into other areas of the arts. I’ve started painting with an artist friend. She’s giving me pointers and helping me develop a painting style. I’ve also started taking pictures. I used to love photography when I was younger. My passion is writing, but these other artistic endeavors help me take my creativity to a new level. That can only be good for my writing.

Balance

Balance is important because we all have more than one goal. Some of us have families and we want to be good parents, so we must balance our need to be there for our children with our creative endeavors. We have to parcel out our time. For myself I need to write, or I get cranky. So, it’s in my family’s best interest that I make time to write. No one likes a cranky Mom. But I also get cranky if the needs of my family are neglected. So, I’m always working to balance family needs with creative needs.

Creative Family

The last one on my list is creating a Creative Family. This is important because your biological family may be supportive, but they probably don’t understand the blood, sweat, and tears, that go into developing your craft like other creatives do. So, having a creative family is important when you need support or guidance in your endeavors. They keep you from hanging it up when the going gets tough.  

So, there you have the four key ingredients to help fight burn-out. How about you, how do you keep your creative juices flowing? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in friendship, Personal, Writing

Do You have a Creative Family ?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after spending the weekend hanging out with fellow creatives. I was invited to sign books at an Arts and Eats Festival this weekend. It was great to meet with people and talk about my books and art. I spoke with painters and photographers and learned some new things about each medium.

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This is right after setting up. We’re chatting while we wait for the crowd.

I enjoyed spending time with such amazing and supportive people. I have found that not only fellow writers are supportive but so are artists, photographers, and sculptors, too. Anyone who’s a creative knows how difficult it is to get your work in front of people.

It was a great time to talk about different ways to reach the public. It seems that marketing is something all creatives struggle with and it was nice to bounce ideas off each other and find out what works for some and doesn’t work for others.

If you have an opportunity to participate in your local festivals, I strongly encourage it. It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there and to start building a local support system. It’s important to do that, so you can get a grass roots kind of thing going for you.

It’s also important to have a creative “family” because not all artists have family that supports them or understands why they spend so much time with their art. You will need the support of your creative community during that time.

Mentors are another great addition to your creative family. They can guide you through the mire of people who want to take advantage of your creativity, and they can also offer you creative advice regarding your craft. A good mentor is golden.

Another aspect that I need to bring up here is your creative community can also offer you constructive criticism. There will be people who criticize your work without offering anything constructive on how to improve it. Don’t listen to these people, they’re not your people. Your creative community will tell you where you need to improve and more importantly how to improve in a gentle constructive way. You need this to grow in your craft. We all do.

So, there you have it. The reasons why you need to develop a creative family. Do you have one? How did you meet yours? Leave a message, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, Writing

The Power of Stories

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work and writing. I’m happy to say I’m in the second stage of my second work in progress. The second stage is editing where I make the story better. That means I have two completed WIPs under my belt. My first one I had a eureka moment concerning the beginning pages, and it has made my story that much better. I’m more excited about it.

Photo credit: BookMama on Visualhunt

But enough about that, today I would like to talk about the power of story. I haven’t done a writing post in a long time, so I thought today, it would be appropriate. A story can transport you to another world and another time. It’s a great way to forget about your problems for a while and relieve some stress by concentrating on something else. Reading is a great stress reliever. Did you know reading for just fifteen minutes can reduce your anxiety by sixty percent? But, we need stories that will engage our readers, so they have to be compelling enough to keep our attention.

Photo credit: Kevin M. Gill on Visualhunt.com

The power of story can make us feel. Feel emotions we’ve buried deep. It’s important to release those emotions in a safe way. A story does this for us. It’s a safe place and we learn empathy for the victims and the heroes in the story.  This is important in our technology heavy world. Where emotion and feelings aren’t always dealt with constructively.

Photo credit: TelmaSDS on VisualHunt.com

There are times when we identify with the characters in the story. A story can alleviate feelings of anxiety and alienation. This is critical. Especially now with the way covid has affected our worlds and obliterated our social lives. It worked great for us introverts, but our extroverted friends have had a harder time.

A story can motivate us, give us power to achieve things we never thought possible. If we see the main character overcoming obstacles like the obstacles we have, it gives us hope. The hope that all we need to do is persevere and we too will overcome the mountains in our way.

Photo credit: PlusLexia.com on VisualHunt

Right now, stories are more important than ever. With the pandemic lasting almost two years people need something to occupy their time and relieve their boredom. So, writers write your stories. Improve your craft and get those stories out there. The world needs them now more than ever.

Photo credit: Damian Gadal on VisualHunt

How about you, how do stories affect you? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal

The Importance of Self-Care

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of writing and work. It was a tough week, there were little fires everywhere that I had to put out. I had a breakthrough with my story, though, so I’m excited about that. Small wins are still victories, and they must be celebrated, right?    

So, enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about self-care. It’s the buzzword lately and everyone seems to be talking about it, but even so, it’s important.

Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. We become so busy doing and putting others or our projects first we forget to take care of ourselves. And really, our health should be our first priority.

I’m not just talking about our physical health either, I’m talking about our mental health as well. The two are inter-related. When we take care of ourselves physically it boosts us mentally, too.  Have you ever noticed that after you exercise, you feel better mentally? I know my problems aren’t so big after I exercise. They are manageable and not overwhelming.

Sometimes our mental health requires us to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes we need to hibernate and spend time with ourselves to become balanced again. Sometimes our mental health requires us to get out and connect with like-minded people. It’s important to have a support system too.

It’s important to have people in your life other than your spouse who support you in your goals and dreams. I’m fortunate to have those people. What I appreciate about them is they help me see things from a different perspective. This helps your mental health, too. Hearing a different perspective pulls you out of the mental loop you get into when you’re trying to solve a problem but can’t see a solution. These people help me switch gears.

Our diet is just as important to our physical and mental health too. Not only does a good diet help our bodies stay strong and healthy, but our minds, too. Anxiety and depression are exacerbated by a poor diet. So, if you’re dealing with one of these conditions, start eating healthier and go for walks. The combination will help you manage your condition.

Writers especially need to make sure they get enough exercise. It’s very easy to get lost in our work and forget about our health. So, go hiking with a friend and get that socializing need taken care of at the same time.

Everyone’s different, so we all need different amounts of food, exercise, solitude, and social interaction. Take time with yourself and figure out what your needs are. Take a few minutes every day and focus on what you might need. Then take care of it.

What are some of the things you do for self-care? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, reviews

Book Review: When We Believed in Mermaids

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with writing, work, and kids. But enough about that. Today, I want to share with you a great book, I finished a few weeks ago. It’s titled “When We Believed in Mermaids.”  The title and blurb are below.

When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel by [Barbara O'Neal]

An Amazon Charts, Washington PostWall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller.

From the author of The Art of Inheriting Secrets comes an emotional new tale of two sisters, an ocean of lies, and a search for the truth.

Her sister has been dead for fifteen years when she sees her on the TV news…

Josie Bianci was killed years ago on a train during a terrorist attack. Gone forever. It’s what her sister, Kit, an ER doctor in Santa Cruz, has always believed. Yet all it takes is a few heart-wrenching seconds to upend Kit’s world. Live coverage of a club fire in Auckland has captured the image of a woman stumbling through the smoke and debris. Her resemblance to Josie is unbelievable. And unmistakable. With it comes a flood of emotions—grief, loss, and anger—that Kit finally has a chance to put to rest: by finding the sister who’s been living a lie.

After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives.

Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything.

My Thoughts:

This book was amazing. I enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I purchased another book by the same author. It’s the story of two sisters. I’ll try and write this without spoilers because I don’t want to ruin it for you. The story takes us below the surface and shows the complexity of the relationship between the two sisters. It’s an excellent example of how the past affects our present lives even when we try to bury it.

It’s also a great story of the resiliency of the sisterly bond. It’s a great story that has all the feels. I highly recommend it.

How about you? What have you been reading lately? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Personal, September 11th

Never Forget

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of writing and working, but enough about that. Yesterday, was September 11th. As I thought back to where I was when I heard the Twin Towers had been hit, it feels like it happened just yesterday. I was driving to work when I heard about it on the radio. It was hard to work that day, but somehow, I managed to get through it.  

I’m humbled by all the heroic people who stepped up to help that day and the days that followed. From the ferryboat drivers who picked up people who were stranded on the island to the firefighters who climbed those stairs to get people out. Then there was Daisy a service dog who led responders again and again to where people were trapped.

We really do come together as a nation during a crisis. Let’s strive to honor everyone who gave their lives on that day, by striving to come together now and fix our broken system. This meme says it all.

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Posted in Personal

Blogcation!

Hey there, I just thought I’d let you know I decided to take a blogcation this Sunday. I will be back hopefully, next Sunday with our regularly scheduled broadcast! Thanks for your patience!

Posted in Health, mental-health, Personal, Writing

Writing and Exercise Go Hand in Hand

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of vacationing and writing. We took the boys to a water park. It was fun, but we were ready to come home. Family vacations are important. They give us an opportunity to connect with our kids again. They’re especially important this year because of the pandemic. I’m so glad things are finally starting to open, and we can travel now.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about staying active, especially for writers or people who sit at a desk for eight hours a day. It’s so important to get up and move. I’m trying to exercise at least five days a week. I was able to achieve that goal last week, but it’s harder when I’m working.

It’s important for writers to get up and move because writing is such a sedentary occupation. Did you know that sitting more than three hours a day can take two years off your life? Even if you exercise regularly, you still need to get up and move around every couple of hours. Take a break and go for a quick walk. Get the blood flowing again.

The benefits of exercise are not just physical. It helps with depression and anxiety. Exercise increases serotonin levels and dopamine levels which explains the fact you’re happier after you work out. I find that when I’m feeling anxious, going for a quick run helps reduce my angst.

I’ve also found that when I get stuck in my manuscript, if I step away from my work and go for a run or a hike, I can usually work out the problem. When I’m running, my brain works differently and I’m able to work out solutions to my story problems.

Any type of exercise will do. I run and do palates, but you could do Yoga or Zumba. Anything that gets your blood flowing. I used to do Yoga when I was younger and I’m going to start it up again just because I need the variety. How about you? What kind of exercise do you do? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Health, Personal

Is the Answer Pre-Packaged Meals?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week of work, running, and writing. I’m hoping to send a few more query letters out this weekend, so wish me luck!

My hubby bought me a Fitbit so I can check my heartrate when I’m running and count my steps for the day. It helps me keep my focus on exercising, especially now when I can get outside to run. I want to stay healthy, so I can see my kids get married and have kids of their own. So many people my age are having health issues, and I’ve had a scare of my own. I’m trying to avoid any more by exercising and eating right.

The exercise part I’ve got down, but the eating right is another matter. I do pretty good normally, but I still love my ice-cream and chocolate on occasion. Sometimes on more than one occasion. 😉

I have to be careful because when you get right down to it, you can’t exercise a bad diet away. I see a trend cropping up where companies are sending you boxed meals that you just take out of the freezer and put in the microwave or oven. Their claim to fame is that they are good for you with just the right amount of protein and carbs.

There’s also a new diet out there, it’s called Optavia. This is where you eat five fuelings a day and then a lean and green meal at night. You have to buy all your food from the company and by doing this you’ll lose weight. It works, too. I’ve got a friend who’s lost approximately thirty pounds in a short period of time, and she’s still going strong. My question is, when you’ve lost enough weight, what do you do?

According to my friend, you transition back to eating normal meals, but I’m skeptical because it was those normal meals that made you overweight in the first place. This is a new program and people claim they’ve been able to keep the weight off. However, I’ve found the way they keep the weight off is by continuing to purchase the food from the company, and it’s not cheap. Now, this is okay if you feel a lot better and can afford it, but I want to know what’s in the food. What are they eating?

If it’s just low-carb meals. You can do that without spending top dollar for their meals. I have another friend who is following the keto plan. She’s lost sixty-five pounds. It took her a couple of years to do it, but I feel this might be the healthier approach.

Then there’s the fact, that our bodies do need carbohydrates, but they have to be the complex carbs not the sweets so many of us are addicted to. I think if you do that you don’t have to spend so much money on these special diets or special meals.

One thing these two things have going for them is time. Both save you time. It takes a lot of time to cook a good meal and then clean up after it’s been consumed. We’d all love a little more time in our day, wouldn’t we?

So, do you think these special diets and these special mail-order meals are here to stay? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!