Get Your MOJO On!


You know it’s Monday when . . .   I won’t go into details but as to Mondays, this has to be one of the top 5 all time worst Mondays in my personal history.  It’s one of those ‘Murphy was an optimist’ days. The worst part  is, I am out of all types of aspirin/Tylenol/ibuprofen/ whatever  headache meds you could think of and I have one of those head in a vice types of headaches. UGH!

Anyway, the whole point of my  post is to get out of the funk not rehash the funk. So here goes!

Soak time!

Soak time!

Top 10 Ways to Destress

  1. Deep Breaths – whether you practice yoga, or sitting upright and taking deep cleansing breaths. Try it. Go ahead, right there at your desk.  Back straight, chin up – take a deep deep breath filling your lungs completely, then slowly with controlled breathing exhale. As you do, mentally imagine the stress falling off of you into the floor where someone else can sweep it up. Repeat this about 5 times. You can do this a few times a day.  Most of us fall into the routine of shallow breathing.  Take a moment to care for your mental health  as well as your physical –  more oxygen gives you a better complexion as well! BONUS!
  2. Sing –  you don’t have to do karaoke or have a microphone, just sing!  In your car, in your shower, in your living room, wherever! This isn’t for others entertainment, this is for your peace of mind. Music soothes the frazzled nerves the same as it does the savage beast.
  3. Take a Hike –  get your blood pumping. Sometimes it helps to simply get up and move around. A walk down the hallway to the bathroom in another part of the building has a twofold benefit. The extra steps help to get your blood pumping and  you get to see different scenery. Amazing what a difference a little bit of newness can do for your outlook!  When I worked at the county courthouse, I would  occasionally take the stairs to  the third floor bathroom because they had a very nicely decorated and clean bathroom while the one on our floor, basement level, tended to be kind of grungy. The bright white porcelain tiles on the third floor had the effect of lifting my spirits. I guess that it didn’t hurt that it was away from the traffic court and domestic violence court either. We would often go for a brisk walk at lunchtime to get some fresh air; weather permitting.
  4. Keep a Journal – It is amazing  looking back at some of my journal entries. There are times when I would be complaining about something trivial things and realize after reading through them  how self-absorbed I had been. There are times when my journal entries were  working through difficult situations and  I had to remind myself of the blessings that I did have. There are times that I journaled about fun things, exciting moments,  a kind deed that someone else did for me that lifted me out of the current bit of self-pity. (Make sure you read my other posts about my current journaling obsession – the bullet journaling entries. )
  5. Make a List – You know you are already making the mental list and stressing over how you are going to get it all done. So take the step and write down your todo list. With focused efforts you can tackle each item and then mark it off of the list – YAY!  This is another feature that my bulletjournal helps me with, because those tasks that I don’t get to today are first on my list for the next day. I simply make a little arrow, then move then to the next day.  I am a list maker because  it helps to clarify my otherwise chaotic brain.
  6. Work on a brain teaser – There is value in that crossword puzzle, word search, or my personal favorite Sudoku. It keeps your brain sharp, while allowing you a few minutes of not thinking about the current problem, which your brain can work on in your subconscious and the brief distraction can often help destress and clear your brain clutter at the same time.
  7. Time Out –  A little down time nappy nap is a good thing. Not while you are driving,  not while you are  in  the department meeting, but when the mid afternoon slump hits you, a brief snooze is a good thing.  My husband is not a good napper. Brief naps don’t really help him and he wakes more cranky and drained than refreshed. For me though, a twenty-minute nap can revive my previous walking dead state.  This is one benefit to working at home,  whether I choose to take my dog for a walk, or get a power nap (Yeah, I know that is an old term and shows my age) there is no one there to  tell me I can’t.
  8. Eat healthy – After the high fat, high sodium, girdle busting  heavy super nachos  deluxe that I prepared for the big Superbowl party, the soup and salad are a welcomed refreshing meal. There is a time for the  comfort foods then there is a time for the lighter fare.
  9. Visualize – Take some time to  SEE your future, SEE how that project will look finished, SEE yourself reaching that goal, SEE yourself succeeding.  BE the ball! A couple of suggestions that I would have for you here are to 1)make a dream board –  to keep in front of you for those days when you are mentally lagging. 2) Take 5 minutes at the beginning of the day to visualize yourself  accomplishing your tasks today and working towards your goal. This will change your outlook from the daily grind to  an outlook of satisfaction. Attitude really does make a huge difference!
  10.  Vacation – Time away to recharge, refresh, renew!  Disclaimer here – a working vacation is not relaxing. Do NOT take your work with you and think that you are going to be able to unwind because you won’t.  YOu’ll be stressing over how to get this done, and how you are going to that, and now you will be worrying  about what if their wi-fi connection doesn’t work. Just don’t! Value yourself enough to give yourself a break!

Now for a bit of  challenge catch up.  For the next few days, I will add the bit from #authorlifemonth at the end of my posts.

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My February Challenge for 2016 is #authorlifemonth. I’ve already shared 1 thru 4 on February Challenge .

Day 5: Comp covers – I don’t have any comp covers as Red Wine & Roses is a stand alone romance novel.

Day 6: fan art/edit:  To my knowledge, I don’t have any fan art anywhere, unless of course someone wants to share their art with me.  Edit:  A few people have pointed out some typos in the book for me,  so before I order more print copies, I’ll   make revisions to the formatted copy.

Day 7: Writing Music – umm wow!  I could do and have done entire posts on this one.  My playlists are unique for each book that I write. Heavy metal seemed to dominate for writing about dragons. I queued a lot of romantic songs for Red Wine & Roses, a mixture of pop, rock, classic rock, some heavy metal are on the playlist for Valkyrie’s. Perhaps I will share about that in the upcoming month for a post.

Day 8: Awesome moment. Hmmm, not sure exactly what  is intended here but  let’s proceed.  An awesome moment in writing RWAR, was the moment of tragedy.  I could see it playing out in my head like a movie.  I kept replaying it, pausing it, playing in slow motion over and over again so that I could get my descriptions down to my satisfaction.  I am pleased to say that this section did not require much revision.  To me, that is a bit of good writing!

For the next few days I will be sharing  these items at the bottom of my posts,  maybe splitting the  weekend facts  . . . not sure.

Anyway,  here’s to a healthier you all around in 2016!  You are valuable –   start treating yourself like it!

 

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Secret Garden


I have  been given the opportunity to take part in

The Creative Promoter’s 2nd Blog Carnival.

YAY!

Thank you Lisa Anne Wooley and Fred Charles!

 The theme: Places where we find creativity.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image.  All rights reserved to the artist.

Quotidiandose does not own rights to this image. All rights reserved to the artist.

Creativity  is something that comes from within.  The art of creating something, whether a craft project,  a painting, woodworking,  writing, music – they are all expressions of inner creativity.  When I first read the theme for this project,  I read it as inspiration, or the places that inspire creativity.

There is something magical that happens when  the spark ignites a Creative’s passions.  I can find  no pattern,  no specific  commonality to what  will  ignite that spark.  It has varied from sitting on my sofa flipping through a  home improvement magazine, to walking behind a push mower, to  planting seedlings in my garden.  I’ve been inspired while riding in the passenger’s seat of a car and even while I was driving alone with the radio blaring.

Turbulent skies

Turbulent skies

While some people say that the beach inspires them,  I feel that a beach setting in a tropical paradise does more to bring peace, calm and  relaxation  to my normal stressed state of existence. Some are inspired by mountains but while I admire the beauty and majesty of them,  I don’t feel particularly inspired in a creative way.

The settings that  inspire my creative nature are varied,  but if there is a commonality to them  it would be  something out of the ordinary. Here are just a few:

  • An old abandoned house that has fallen in disrepair that at one time must have been a statement of status.  (Inspired Arturo’s Treasure; mystery intrigue tale of pirates, buried treasure, betrayal, and  romance that spans generations. [Watch for it in 2016])
  • An eerie boggy creek bend that  has recently flooded and is alive with insect noises that  gives an audible  hum in the air. (Inspired Blight Creek;  a zombie tale of a different nature. [Watch for it in 2016])
  • The dressing room of a bridal shop where my daughter tried on Prom dresses. (Inspired Death by Design; Haute Couture styles to die for! [Watch for it in 2017])
Abandoned  estate home in St. Louis.

Abandoned estate home in St. Louis.

I think more than any setting or place that inspires my imagination is the magical game of ‘What if’?  While sitting in a restaurant that my husband and I frequented in our dating years we observed a young man get on his knees and propose.  It was a heartwarming sentimental moment that  brought a tear to my eye.

It sparked conversation between my husband and myself of our beginnings, and as I mulled that over and over in my mind  it sparked What if? in the scene we had witnessed.  What if the couple were perfect for one another,  but his ex decides she  isn’t through?  What if there is a tragic accident?   What if she goes to jail?  (Red Wine & Roses scheduled for release in 2015!) (Oral Dilemma, scheduled for fall of 2015)

I know people who play the ‘what if’ game in their own lives,  constantly worrying about things that will never happen.  Worry is such a useless time waster. The majority of the times those things we worry about never happen.  But in the fiction world, anything and everything can happen.  We can throw our characters into  the fire,  into the next fire,  into the impending disaster,  into and out of relationships, give them an incurable disease,  poison them,  shoot them, and basically wreak havoc in their  fictional lives to play out the scenarios that would send  ordinary folks to the nut house.

It sounds disturbing when you  summarize it concisely like that,  but it’s  the game  many writer’s play  to create some of the best fiction out there.

Once the ideas begin to form, I create a file for them in my ideal garden.  I have a cheap spiral  journal  that I picked up on clearance that I jot down ideas.  In this journal are some sketches of  characters,  sketches of objects from a story idea, and notes about a particular story or character.  Some are all on one page,  some are spread over several pages.  If there is any one  place for my collective creativity, it would probably be this journal. I also have files on my computer and  external hard drive  with  the information once I piece a few things together.

Last summer my daughter was helping me clean  in the basement.  She picked up this journal and tossed it into the trash bin.  I about came unglued. I yelled, screamed, ranted, scooped up my precious journal and ran upstairs to hide it away for safe keeping.  When I was alone with it later,  I opened it, reliving each moment of excitement when I  initially had these inspirations and  gained a new refreshed zeal for a few ideas that had  sat unattended for a while.

Don’t judge me!

It’s funny, my secret garden journal sat in that stack for  a couple of months forgotten while life decided  there were other things to demand my attention.  My rediscovery of this treasured object that looks like a dime store  worthless  notebook reignited my passion like it was  rocket fuel.  Just like in a natural garden,  you leave the seeds covered with dirt for a time, hidden away they begin to germinate. So in a sense another place that I was inspired was a musty cobwebbed basement. Weird, I know.

As I poured over  each and every page, I saw that I had  more  than I thought I did when it was set aside. I saw connections that  I didn’t see before.  Like a Vining plant climbing a trellis, my notes had a thin thread of  the overall theme woven through them.  My true creative nature  flows when I have the pen in hand.  This is the incubator,  the hatching process.  Taking  raw materials – the  boggy creek,  the snooty sales clerk, the young couple – and  formulating my ‘what ifs’ into  a tale of mystery, romance or whatever.

The physical act of writing, pounding out the story on the keyboard  varies between two  stages.  Stage 1 is the driven compulsion to get the story out of my head, where the characters are playing out the scenes faster than I can type.  This is when I am in the flowstate,   when I am immersed in my fictional world. It’s a magical place, a mystical place that  real life demands summons me from too frequently.

Stage 2 sadly is where I have spent most of my writing time.  This is  the disjointed, interrupted, distracted part.  It’s difficult to get back into the flow state of writing when you’ve been distracted from your plan for  the umpteenth time.

Sadly, this is the state where I have to function  more effectively than I have because I don’t just have  ten hours in a day of uninterrupted time to  get things down  onto virtual paper, as is the case with most of the authors I know.  We have lives, families, obligations,  and jobs that demand our time.

Whatever inspires or sparks your creativity, make it a priority in your life.  Pursuit your dreams with passion, in whatever manner you find that works for you.

There is no one place or location that inspires me  to be creative.  Ideas come to me in some of the strangest places. My secret  garden, or inner sanctum’s outer expression would be my  journal.  I’d like to say that it was a nice leather-bound  journal resembling something of an ancient handwritten book,  or as fancy as the Book of Kells,  but alas it’s not.  It’s a meagher little dime store notebook but it works for me.

My Precious - the secret garden journal

My Precious – the secret garden journal

What inspires you?  What sparks your creativity?  Is there a special place that ignites your creative juices?

We are all different, inspired by different things, have different ideas  on how to execute that creativity. I for one am glad for the differences.  It would be pretty boring if we were all of the same hivemind.

Write on my friends, write on!

 Go to CARNIVAL, Lisa’s blog to find the links to other bloggers posts in this  series!