Sunday, November 25, 2018

Dangers of Tryptophan

Most of America celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday. As I had done Thanksgiving early, I had the pleasure of eating some really great turkey soup instead of the traditional full-blown meal. However, the outcome was the same. I watched the Macy's parade, snoozed through a couple football games, and had another bowl of soup. The lack of energy was palpable. Even Mary, my little dog, only wanted to snuggle and sleep.

My list of things to accomplish during the week stayed static for a day. I had managed to get some writing done before I hit the soup, but not much got marked off after noon. Rather than beat myself up for not getting enough done, I decided to give myself a break. After all, some of my best ideas come when I'm not expecting them. A little down time may be just what my story needs.

Next week, I'll begin again with a new list of items to take care of during the week. Things I didn't think I'd ever do, like get a passport, buy a new suitcase and get my nephew moved from one coast to the other. But the unexpected is what makes life exciting. I hope the remainder of your year is filled with all the excitement and joy of the season. We're in the home stretch.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

What To Do?

Most of us who write walk around holding imaginary conversations in our heads with our characters. Sometimes these one-sided talks are lively and productive, but sometimes, our characters have minds of their own.

Such is the case with my latest couple–Lily and Angus. I've tried to write their story three different ways now, and just when I think I've got the right formula, one of them does something to totally overturn my plans. Their mutual attraction, upon which neither can act, is about to kill me.

I do some of my best plotting while floating in the pool at my nearby health club.

I haven't been able to get there for the past week, due to family being in town and other obligations. But I plan to go this afternoon, to ponder which road to take Lily down while I float in an Olympic-sized salt-water pool. If I don't drown, I just might have another chapter to write upon my return. Or maybe Angus (or Lily) will hold my head under the water.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Turkey Day

My family celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, a whole two weeks ahead of the actual holiday. Because we're scattered from coast to coast, we've made it our mission to celebrate our favorite holiday of the year whenever we can manage to get three or more of us in the same place at the same time. This has become increasingly important since the deaths of our parents and the fact the five of us kids aren't getting any younger. My brother and his wife flew in from California for a few days, so my sister and her husband came over from their home in North Carolina, as did my niece, her husband and their two children. It was a packed house. I borrowed chairs from the neighbors and bought paper plates. We spent the day in the kitchen making our favorite dishes and sharing stories about growing up together in Ohio.

After all, it's not so much about the day as it is the people you share it with. Happy early Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Relaxed and Reinvigorated

I indulged last week and took four days off to go see a friend in the mountains. It was a good time for a break, since I'd just sent my current manuscript off to my agent. I took my laptop, but only so I could keep on top of my overflowing email inbox. I didn't do a lick of writing, either for my next manuscript or my side hustle job. Instead, I took a hike in the beautiful Asheville Arboretum and marveled at the red and orange colors of the trees.

Those who know me and my schedule know this behavior was very unlike me. But as it turns out, it was the best thing I could do. I was stuck, for the first time in my writing career, on where to take my next story. I told my friend of my dilemma and even though she wasn't a writer, she is an artistic person and gave me some really good ideas on how to approach my story line. I came back to the computer raring to go.

So, one chapter into my newest manuscript and three articles written for the side hustle, I'm back in the groove. And if I take a break, I can look at my pictures and I'm immediately back in the mountains. It was fun and I can't wait to do it again.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away for a bit.

Oh, and if you haven't already done so, please vote on Tuesday. Americans are blessed to have the right for each person over the age of 18 to cast a vote, so please exercise your civic duty.