Archive for August, 2015

Some days, I don’t have the necessary motivation to write (or paint). Perhaps I’m tired physically, mentally, or emotionally,  perhaps I’ve received one too many rejection letters, or perhaps I’m overwhelmed with the hugeness of a task. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to lift my hands to type, much less turn on the necessary creativity to build a world!

But feelings of being overwhelmed or just not motivated, dog us all — not only in writing and art, but in life. Maybe the lawn needs a machete before you turn on the lawn mower, maybe the shelves are bare before you go food shopping, or maybe the spiders’ webs have begun to block your view out your windows before you take a broom to them.

For me, I need to set a small, reachable goal for the day. Something along the lines of: paint a background wash on a painting or revise the first page of a story or weed the first three feet of a flower garden. Quite often, once I begin the task, I find myself completing far more than I anticipated. But even if I only achieve the small goal I set for the day, I’ve already decided it will be enough.

I think the slow, but steady approach to mountains of work is the best approach for me. For some people, having a scheduled time or a set routine also helps. For me, it’s hard to keep to schedules and routines, but whether I devote an hour to writing at 9 AM or 9 PM, it’s the goal of spending an hour on my writing that I focus on achieving.

For another point of view, check out this article from Life on the Sunnyside.

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Authors both love and dread book signings. It is exciting to present your book (or books) to readers at a bookstore or other venue. You can’t wait to smile, sign a few books, shake a few hands, and meet your readers.

But every author (whether they admit it or not) dreads the thought of setting up a table, placing a stack of books and a pen for signing on it, and sitting for an hour with no one in line. Yes, it does happen.

An author tells a few friends, maybe posts to Facebook or some other social media site, and counts on the store to do all the promo. Then, few if any readers show up. Maybe, a reader already in the store will take pity on the author and stop by to chat. Maybe, if you’re really lucky, this reader will buy a copy of the book.

From my experiences, it takes a more personal invitation approach to attract readers to a book signing. In fact, if you can combine a brief, informative presentation with the signing – all the better. Also, it can help to have a signing with another writer so you can (hopefully) double your audience.

For some more great tips, read this recent post by writer friend, Katherine Pickett: What I Know About Book Signings.

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Distractions, when you’re trying to accomplish anything, are a problem. But distractions are a part of life.

For me, it’s a challenge to balance creative time, free from the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, and living life! Family, friends, pets, exercise, cooking, gardening, etc. are important to me, and inspiration for my writing and art. I embrace life with all its complexities and contradictions and don’t want to miss it while still pursuing my creative endeavors.

So what to do?

– Scheduling creative time, and letting family members know, unless it’s an emergency, you’re not to be interrupted – works for some people.

– Limiting social media time (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) by using a timer can help control that distraction.

– Recording your favorite television shows, then speed through the commercials when you watch them later saves a few minutes. And I’ve found after a show is recorded, I think about if I really want to spend that 45 minutes or more watching it. Often, I just delete the show and pick up a book.

– Use Caller-ID. Unless you must talk to the person or fear it’s an emergency, don’t pick up the phone. If it’s important, the caller will leave a message.

– The weeds, dust bunnies, and dog hair will be there tomorrow. When a deadline presses close, let the garden and cleaning wait a day or two. Notice I did not say forever here, a few days won’t matter – a few weeks will!

– Eat convenience foods or carry out. Again, this isn’t a long-term solution, but if you’re pushing to the end of a project, pizza one night and Chinese carry-out the next night is fine.

Remember, distractions are a part of life. Don’t complain about them – deal with them!

For a funny, tongue-in-cheek look at distractions, check out this post from Writer Unboxed. Enjoy!

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Some gardeners are practical sorts with a focus on tidy rows and neatly-trimmed shrubs. I am not one of those gardeners!

I like the look of a garden that is unexpected – one with little nooks and crannies and surprises. I have quite a few cement animals and gargoyles hidden here and there amongst my flowers. I enjoy the surprised and delighted looks on the faces of children and the young-at-heart who spot the hidden garden statues.

I’ve decided to add a Fairy Garden to my backyard this year. And why not? Surely, there must be sprites and gnomes visiting my garden along with the rabbits, squirrels, snakes, crows, toads, and various other woodland creatures.

For a magical article with pictures of fairy gardens, check out a recent post, Fantastic Fairy Gardens, from House of Hawthornes.

Happy gardening, and happy fairy watching!


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Thanks to Trisha Wooldridge, a fellow member of Broad Unvierse (women who write science fiction, fantasy, and horror), I read this interesting post on whether the same manuscript written by a male versus a female would be considered more seriously. I offer my readers the link, and wonder if this experience is “typical” or a fluke.

I hope this author’s experiences were just a fluke, and the world of agents and publishers is as even-handed as I try to be when editing an anthology.

For your consideration: Homme de Plume What I Learned Sending My Novel Out Under A Male Name.

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Self-doubt is the enemy of many writers. On some days, the Doubters Club includes me. But I work hard to close me ears to that little niggling voice in the back of my brain which says my writing and art aren’t good enough. And I try not to set myself up for other voices to plant the seeds of doubt in my subconscious.

For me, the love of telling a story pushes me beyond self-doubt. The need to create a world from a chain of words or smathering of paint is enough motivation to cancel my membership in the Doubters Club and create.

My advice to writers, illustrators, crafters, and dreamers: Believe in yourself, and don’t let anyone (yourself included) keep you from pursuing your creative dreams.

For another point of view on the crippling effects of doubt, check out a recent As the Eraser Burns blog post from my writing friend, Laura Bowers: Write with the Door Closed Firmly.

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Today, a break from my usual science-fiction, fantasy, and writing-related posts. Though, of course, as I read the article whose link is at the bottome of the post, I couldn’t resist jotting a couple of ideas down for potential stories!

Ladybugs, or lady-beetles, if you prefer are a gardener’s friend. They consume lots of other insects which are harmful to the plants we (yes, I dabble in gardening) are trying to cultivate.

Their bright, red-with-black-spots wings make them a favorite with children and children’s book authors. Though if anyone has picked them up, they’ve found these cute insects have a rather nasty smelly! Why, there’s even a children’s rhyme urging a ladybug to hurry home and rescue her children.

A fun look at a rainbow of ladybugs can be viewed in this article.

Happy reading, and happy gardening, too!

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4 Gabeta small I love owls! So much so, I featured an owl and/or the dusk-to-dawn owl hunting time in every tale in my short story collection, Owl Light.

I’ve had the good luck to see in-person many species of these amazing birds, so when I read a recent article sent to me by my daughter-in-law Dawn, I could identify most of the owls correctly.

For other owl-lovers, check out this wonderful Audubon article on owls. Enjoy!

(And you might want to check out the series of Owl posts I did here, on Whimsical Words, with lots of links to owl videos and articles).

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