Sunday, September 18, 2016

What’s good about a drought? The growth we see afterwards.

You might not think September is synonymous with drought, or even growth, as the rain has already visited us and the trees outside are losing their leaves as I write this. But when it involves creativity, I will think of September as the end to my drought.

I recently attended a writers’ conference and while I may not have attended with any actual thought of what I wanted, the conference provided me with exactly what I needed. With a great lineup of speakers and a full day of learning, I was able to connect with like minds, find new inspiration, learn helpful tips and tricks relating to writing and marketing and most importantly, add a good amount of nourishment to my creative soul in order to fuel my passion for writing.

What did I learn throughout my day at the conference?

Here’s an overview:
  • Useful approaches to great book cover designs – you really can’t deny that readers usually judge by the cover.
  • Artistic Perseverance – remembering why I want to write and committing to that; consistently putting in the work while also reading, studying, and connecting with others; building my life around the necessity to write; and remembering that we’re not all perfect, it can take time and sometimes you have to surrender and move on to something else but to always remember my reason for writing and to never give up.
  • Developing characters and crafting conflict – since my characters and I have had an on-again, off-again relationship for awhile, this class was well worth my time as it made me think about questions I should be asking while the characters navigate through the story and interact with each other. 
  • Social media strategies – the presenter provided many useful tips and so many ideas about different tools to use that I have to find some time to check them all out, but I’m excited about utilizing many of them.  I feel like I’m starting over again, in a way, when it comes to my online presence and many of her ideas will really help me as I complete and publish my next book.
  • Marketing strategies – this has always been the subject I dislike the most…selling yourself is not an easy thing to do for many.  But this presenter was excellent.  From creating a plan, to creating systems, investing in yourself, networking with others, creating newsletters, promotions and sales…and everything in between, she was excited about her work and she made me excited about it too.  She provided useful ways to tackle this difficult part of the business and even more surprising, she made me believe I can succeed, and possibly have fun at it, as well. 

With everything I learned from each presenter, what I really gained from the conference was this:  excitement. It is addicting. And I refuse to let that feeling go. 

The creative nourishment I gained at this conference has already caused me to lose sleep because I can’t wait to completely dig back the layers of noise in my head that have kept my characters muted for so long. I know this will sound weird, and if you’re not a writer you might not understand, but I feel awful about shutting out my characters for so long. 

The drought I’ve been in is over. 


I’ve had a rough go for long enough, with a wild roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs that has been difficult to maneuver through. The control freak in me has definitely felt out of control.  But it’s time for me to take back control of what I am passionate about, remember why I’m passionate about it, and make a conscious and constant effort to stick to the path I started a few years ago.

So long drought – hello creativity.

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hello? It’s me…back up and running.

Summer is over, school has begun and we’re about to move into another season of weather and the parade of upcoming holidays this time of year brings on.  It is probably my most favorite time of year, the change from summer to fall, fall colors, crisp mornings, seasonal drinks and fun Halloween decorations in stores I can’t resist checking out (and playing with).

As we literally move from one season to the next, I am personally moving from one season to another, with more change and the shift into another new normal, yet again, that the past few months have brought me.  It’s been two months since my last blog post, but it was a much-needed break, considering the fact that I had to focus on serious matters involving family illness and the loss of two parents to cancer.

I have definitely had some struggles the past year and a half or so, since my dad passed away in early 2015, and while I attempted to find a way to get through my grief.  Writing should have given me some comfort, and sometimes it did, but my focus was difficult to keep under control.  This year started out a bit better but mid-way through we lost my stepmom to cancer and just last month, my husband’s mom also lost her battle to cancer (we already lost his dad to cancer, six years ago on today’s date).

Seriously, all I can say about cancer is that is sucks.  If you’ve never had a scare yourself or watched a loved one battle cancer, consider yourself very fortunate and pray you never have to watch a loved one suffer through this awful illness.

But this post is not about cancer or death or grief – instead, it is about moving on, moving through seasons, even the toughest ones, and coming out stronger.  I’m here to say that I am back and ready to move on with my writing, with connecting, learning, researching, creating and enjoying all there is about writing.  Life may continue to have its ups and downs, but if the past year and a half has taught me anything, it is that I may falter, or even fall, but each time I will get back up and continue on, stronger, even, due to what I have been through.  Another lesson is that we cannot really enjoy the life we have unless we live in and enjoy each moment, enjoy time spent with those who are still here with us, look forward to the future with optimism and resist the urge to live in the past.

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~Marianne Williamson

To honor the memories of lost loved ones, I’m focusing less on the past, the what-if’s, and the could-have-been’s, and I will fully enjoy life by living in the present and spending time doing what I am passionate about.  Each morning when I wake up, I will have the attitude that I can make each day ridiculously amazing. 

The effort to succeed in life has a much better chance if the attitude is attentive, positive and motivating.  With this attitude, a person can do great things; and in the end, will leave them with less regret. 

So let the change in seasons begin, both literally and figuratively…because I’m ready!