Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week of work and writing. My neck is feeling much better and I’m thinking about getting back into my exercise routine, but I won’t be running on the treadmill. There won’t be another treadmill season in the Orchard house. In my opinion, I need to run on harder surfaces if I’m going to run. So, I’m going to have to find another form of exercise during the winter months.
But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about the writing life. I haven’t spoken about this in a while, so I felt that I should address it today.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. We writers create by ourselves and work with editors and beta readers to produce a viable product. It’s time consuming and takes us away from our families and friends.
Sometimes, it can be discouraging. The waiting for an acceptance or rejection of a manuscript can take a long time. It can get downright lonely.
So, it’s important to have a creative community who supports you. They don’t all have to be writers. They can be artists, or sculptors, or photographers. These people will understand your struggle. They will support you in ways your family can’t because they don’t understand. I have an artist friend who I get together maybe once or twice a month and paint with her. I’m no artist, but it’s always good to take a break and do something different. I support her art, and she supports my writing.
Another way to combat the anxiety of waiting is to start another project. Work on something else. If you do get an acceptance, you’ll be a step ahead of the game because you have another project to offer.
Still another way, is to take a break from writing all together. Spend time with your family. Go on a trip and enjoy some down time. Maybe even read. 😉
Exercise is another great way to deal with the stress of writing. Get out of the chair and move your body. Get those endorphins moving, it’ll help with the creative process. Trust me.
So, there you have it. Some ways to combat the loneliness and stress of writing. How about you, how do you deal with it? Leave a comment! I love to hear from you!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I know I didn’t write a post this week and I apologize. I attended a writing conference last weekend and I have a pinched nerve in my neck at the moment, so sitting at the computer is painful. However, it’s getting better and I should have a post up for next week. So, instead of a post, I’m offering you a chuckle. 😉 I hope you’re all having a great week!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Today, I have a guest author Dana Provo, and she’s here to give you some tips for that dreaded disease Writer’s Block. So, without further ado, take it away Dana!
Writer’s block is real. It’s not some made up thing that people use as an excuse. It can be, but not usually. If a writer is experiencing a block, it usually means there is something going on in their life. Overcoming writer’s block is challenging if you don’t really want to get through it. Here are 4 tips to keep those blocks at bay and keep writing:
Tip #1: Go For A Walk
Walking can help in so many ways! Getting out of the writing environment and outside helps relieve stress that is caused by sitting in front of your computer endlessly writing. Exercise releases endorphins that help stimulate the brain and your body to relax. Writing is not always easy so it’s best to take breaks and go outside for a walk.
Tip #2: Eat Something
Often, writers will sit at their computer for hours at a time, not looking up from their screen, only to realize later on that they haven’t eaten a single thing all day. This is not healthy for your body or your writer’s block. It’s best to have meals with healthy foods and drinks. If you don’t eat then your brain can’t work properly to write down your stories.
Tip #3: 2 Minute Writing Sprints
If you’re really in a jam and can’t get out of your slump, then try doing some sprints. Pick any topic and set a timer for 2 minutes, then just write. Don’t stop until the timer goes off. You don’t have to make your sentences perfect, just get the words out. Sometimes your brain just needs to unload and the best way to do that is writing about things that don’t matter. You can continue your 2 minute writing sprints for as long as you’d like, changing up the topic with each 2 minutes. I would start with 10 minutes total, then go back to your story and that should help.
Tip #4: Change the Scenery
If you write at home on the couch in front of the television or always looking at the same picture on the wall in front of your desk, and you find you get writer’s block more often than not, then maybe you need to change the scenery. Go to a local coffee shop, get a caffeinated drink and try writing there. Try sitting outside on the porch or a park. Even try changing up what you use to write. I like to write on my laptop for obvious reasons (not having to type up a written document, automatically saves), but sometimes when I’m struggling, I get out my trusty notebook and start freewriting. I feel a sense of freedom when I write on paper and even though I have to type it up, I’m not going back and reediting things I already typed up. Using paper and a good pen or pencil can change the whole experience.
So now that you have 4 tips to help with writer’s block, you can feel more confident in writing your lengthy novel. Writer’s block doesn’t have to be a crutch. Use these tips and get back to writing; finish your story!
Finding love is difficult, especially when it tries to kill you. Bleeding Hearts is a new adult romantic suspense novel based out of Richmond, Va. This book appeals to readers from ages 16 to 60 with passions in both romance and mystery. For anyone interested in psychological thrillers, they may find this book similar to authors Natasha Preston and Sara Shepard.
Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.
Red roses, a reminder of her parents’ killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.
Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?
Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to adult historical romances. When she’s not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.
A gripping tale of love and suspense! Bleeding Hearts had me hooked from the first intense scene of the story. With a strong main character and diverse supporting ones, this is a great book to read at any time! – Amazon Reviewer
A fantastic story from a gifted author. Dana Louise Provo is a writer to keep an eye on. – Jason Pere, author of Calling The Reaper
Absolutely the best book ever! Couldn’t put it down. – Amazon Reviewer
Thanks Dana for being a guest and sharing your insight on how to handle that horrible affliction, Writer’s Block. How about you? How do you handle Writer’s Block? Leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy this week with work, writing, and family. Now that winter is almost upon us, I’ve been preparing by making sure my kids have coats and gloves that fit. I’ve also taken some time off to go hiking. I’m hoping to get a couple more hikes in before the snow flies and we start hibernating.
But enough about that. Today, I’d like to talk about friendship and connection. I remember in my teen years, many moons ago, I had a group of friends that I hung out with constantly. We did everything together. Bike rides, skateboarding, sleepovers, and slumber parties. They were my support group and I supported them.
I miss those days. I feel women need their groups of friends to feel connected and part of a community. We need to get back to that in our society. I know social media allows us to stay connected over long distances, but it’s not the same kind of connection. Something gets lost over the internet. The ability to read facial expressions and get a hug. The ability to actually touch someone is gone. This is something that’s desperately needed in our society. Remember the old quilting circles? We need to bring them back.
So, how do we do that in our bustling world? We go back to those days of quilting circles and start anew. If you don’t like quilting, you could get a group of friends together to play cards, or do something creative like painting, or join a writing group.
These are all ways to recreate a community. It’s always good to create one around an activity, or common goal. That way everyone is focused on something positive, and they can forget about their troubles for a while. Whenever I get together with my group of friends, I always come away from the gathering inspired and motivated. It’s refreshing to be with like-minded people.
This last week, I got together with my artist friends and we went on a hike then painted together. Even though we were all working on our own paintings there was a sense of community and support. I left that group inspired to keep working on my writing. Sometimes we time away to refresh so we can continue working on a long project such as writing a novel.
So, there you have it, need something to boost your mood? Start your own community. Create your own quilting circle, or writing group, or hiking group. You’ll be glad you did. It’s cheaper than therapy. 😉
How do you find support? What kind of groups would you like to create? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How about you, how do stories affect you? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! Today, I have a guest, Grace Rockwell. She’s here to tell us a little bit about herself and her book. So without further ado, take it away, Grace!
My name is Grace Rockwell. Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to write a book. As an adult I’ve thought about sharing my life story of domestic abuse, chronic pain and mental illness. But I struggled to know exactly how to write it and when.
But in the summer of 2018 that all became crystal clear to me. One day I sat down in my dining room, with my laptop, and started writing. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Eight weeks later I had a first draft – about 120 pages and 18 chapters.
After those eight weeks I was stricken with a debilitating depression. For month after month I was stuck and sat despondent in my recliner. Then in March 2020 I started feeling better.
In June I decided that I needed to add “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. I finished my story and started looking for a publisher.
My manuscript was published and released in October 2020 by Westbow Press. The book is now available for purchase from the publisher and on Amazon.com.
This is what my book (Our Only Hope: Living a Life of Freedom) is about:
“For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative abusive environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.
Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope and it can become an anchor for our souls.
Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse and/or mental illness.”
Here is a sneak peek into the introduction:
Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?…As I am writing this now, I’ve had the song You Never Let Go by Matt Redman stuck in my head for weeks. I’ve listened to other songs in the meantime, but it just won’t go away. Ugh! At this point I’m like, “OK. Must be I’m supposed to really think about the lyrics and the overall meaning of the song.” I’ve come to the conclusion that this song is really a reflection of my life, and all I have been through over the years.
Speaking of my life, I’ve been looking back over the past 50 years and am feeling like now is the right time to share my story. I’ve also been praying a lot about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to be. Prayers about what the next 50 years will bring. Prayers about how to share my story.
Last night as I was going to sleep, I felt the power and gravity of who God is. It was storming with a lot of lightening and loud thunder. The rain was pouring down on the house and I thought, “Wow, God! There really is NO stopping You!” Then I went to sleep praying, “Lord, I don’t know when you want me to share my story, or even if I’m supposed to write my story. But if it is Your will, please give me the words. I can’t do this on my own. I need some direction here. Thank You, Father. Amen.”
The next thing I know my alarm is going off. It was time to get up and get ready for my morning appointment. The problem was that I didn’t want to wake up. I was too involved in my dream and I needed to know how it ended. Instead of going back into the dream, I felt the need to start writing down everything I could remember from the dream. You see, a few weeks ago I read a book by Jane Hamon called Dreams & Visions. Jane is a Christian teacher who really changed my opinion about dreams through her book. I will never again think of my dreams as silly, passing whims of the subconscious mind. Instead, I now pay more attention and try to really think through my dreams and what they might mean. Jane states that, “individuals should examine their own dreams and learn to listen to God’s Holy Spirit through this God-ordained method of communication.” (19) She goes on to explain that it is important to write down what we can remember upon waking. This is because it is only in those fleeting moments that we can remember. Jane recommends keeping paper and pen beside your bed so you can write before you even get out of bed in the morning. Or if you wake in the middle of the night.
So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. Nine sticky notes later, I had jotted down all of the elements I could remember. And as I wrote, I realized that God was answering my prayer from the previous night. He was giving me some of the ideas for this book. Part of my life story is within each element and character throughout my dream:
Protagonist – Little Girl
Antagonists – The Enemy, Young Mama, Old Mama
Supporting Character – The Caregiver
My dream started inside a church. The young mama had brought her little girl to the church looking for answers. The little girl had been telling her things that did not make sense. She was telling her mama about things she could do, but the mama knew those things were not possible. Mama had realized that her daughter would only make these claims while she was taking her pain medication. At the church was the little girl’s caregiver. The caregiver tried to tell the mama that her daughter’s allegations were true. But it wasn’t the medication causing the phenomena…The next scene opens into a small apartment. There are two beds with a TV between them. The young mama is sleeping in one bed, and the old mama is sleeping in the other bed. The unborn baby is in the corner sleeping in a beautiful, white lace bassinet. The apartment and its furnishings are old, dusty, and falling apart. The little girl enters the apartment and starts using her powers to regenerate everything in sight. She starts in the bathroom and with her simple words, she speaks into existence a new sink, a new bathtub, new towels, new paint on the walls, and new flooring. She then proceeds to the large room with the two beds, TV and bassinet. She starts to regenerate the walls, the decor….But then the enemy comes on the TV and starts telling the little girl lies. Lies that she can’t do this. She is not good enough. She should give up. As the enemy speaks, she starts to feel horrible and her powers begin to fade. Then her body morphs into a black cat. As the enemy continues to fill the room with lies, her cat body starts to fall apart. Limbs fall off and fur falls to the floor.
Enter the caregiver. The caregiver walks over to the TV and switches it off. She then starts praying over the little girl. She pleads with God to put the girl back together. As she prays, the girl regains her body parts and starts turning back into a child. The caregiver continues to fervently pray over her until the girl is back to normal. But when the caregiver stopped praying, the little girl would start falling apart again. After several times of this happening, the caregiver realizes that she must fervently pray without ceasing over this precious little girl… After some deep soul searching, I was able to interpret my dream as huge parts of my life so far. The little girl is me. The enemy is Satan, and the mama (young and old) is my biological mom. The caregiver is a representation of six godly women who have loved on and prayed for me throughout my life. And finally, the baby represents the unborn babies who my mom had miscarried before my brother and I were born.”
For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.
Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope, and it can become an anchor for our souls.
Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse, and/or mental illness.
Today Grace lives with her husband in a small farming community in West Michigan, not far from where she grew up. She and her husband have four grown children and nine grandchildren.
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!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve finally put the finishing touches on my story after making many, many changes. I’ve sent it off to my beta reader and hopefully she’s happy with it. Cross your fingers for me. 😊
But enough about that. I’ve been working out in the yard quite a bit, planting some flowers and shrubs and it’s such a refreshing feeling, especially after being cooped up in the house all winter. I need to get outside more because I’m working from home and during the winter it was hard to get out because it got dark so fast. So, it’s a real blessing to be able to get out and work in the yard.
I’m also running outside again. The dreaded treadmill season is over. The only time I’ll run on it during the summer is if it’s raining too hard to run outside. I’ve also added some weight bearing exercises to my routine to build up my muscles. I’m hoping to get back into the shape I was in before I had kids. I have a long way to go, though. LOL!
I have also gotten vaccinated. I did a lot of thinking about it and decided it was the right thing to do. I ran into a friend who had spoken to the scientists at a drug company and they explained everything to her, and it was her words that convinced me to get the vaccine. I’m glad I did it. I didn’t have a reaction other than a tender arm for both shots.
So, now that we’re all caught up on my news, I thought I’d talk about being a destination junkie. This is a person who thinks that they’ll be happy once they get that perfect job, or finish that book, or reach their goal weight. While these things will certainly make you happy, it’s important to enjoy the process of working toward that goal, because what happens if you never make it?
I know we don’t like to think about that, but sometimes we don’t achieve the goal we’ve been working toward, what happens then? Is all that time we spent working toward that goal a waste?
My answer is no. If you’re getting something out of the journey while you’re working toward your goal, it’s worth the time. For example, my writing. I would love to be a New York Times Best-selling author, but I might not ever get there. But that’s okay if I’m getting something out of the writing process while I’m creating my stories, then it’s worth it. To me, writing is a stress reliever, an escape when my life gets bogged down in the routine of work, kids, and household duties.
Let’s say it’s taking me longer to reach my goals at work, that can be frustrating and can cause a lot of angst. When I start feeling that angst, I focus instead on my writing and it makes me feel better. So, you see my writing relieves my stress and my angst. It has a dual purpose until I can reach my goals.
So, don’t be a destination junkie. Enjoy the process and you’ll get more out of life. Are you a destination junkie? What are some of the things you do to alleviate that situation? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!
Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a week of working and working on my craft. I took some time off to read a craft book this week and I’m glad I did. It was a good book. It’s titled “The Secrets of Story.” If you’re looking for a book to help you with your writing, this book is for you.
But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about finding balance and perspective. I struggle with these issues daily because my passion is my writing, but I have a passion for my family, a passion for my work, and I also need to take care of my health by exercising and eating right.
Sometimes, I get frustrated because I can’t write. I have to take care of my kids, fix a meal, or work my day job. Then I have to fit in time for exercise. This is what I struggle with. Many times, I have to choose between exercising and writing. Sometimes I choose writing and feel guilty because I know I should be exercising for my health. It’s a constant battle. Sometimes I do exercise and wish I were writing instead. These negative emotions I experience detract from the enjoyment of my exercising or my writing.
Since I don’t want to have deal with negative emotions, I’ve got to change my attitude, because with my hectic schedule, I’m always going to have to choose between the two. So, when I choose to exercise, I tell myself I’m doing something that’s good for my body, my soul, and my brain. Exercise is a great way to fight depression, burn calories, and get your blood flowing so your brain gets the oxygen it needs. Instead of telling myself I must do this because I want to keep my weight under control or because I ate pizza for dinner, I tell myself my writing will be better if I exercise. This one little change in my perspective allows me to enjoy my exercise and my writing. After I exercise, I have the rest of the evening to write. Therefore, I don’t feel guilty when I’m writing because I know I already exercised.
I’ve also gotten better at defining exercise. I used to feel like I had to run four to six miles at a time before I could call it a workout. That’s not entirely true. I can do strength training and that’s exercise. I can do Pilates and that’s exercise. So is yoga. I’ve been adding these activities to my exercise routine to help build the muscle I’m losing as I age. By adding Pilates and Yoga to my regime, I’ve eliminated my sciatica pain. The difference is amazing, and my writing has improved.
So, there you have it. By changing my perspective about exercise and writing, I’ve been able to enjoy my exercise more. I don’t enjoy it in the beginning. It’s always hard to get started, but by the end, I’m always glad I did it.
I also enjoy my writing more. I don’t feel guilty when I sit down and take some time for my stories. How about you? How do you balance it all? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!