A Is For Attitude

A2Z ChallengeSo, this year I’ve decided to join the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. That means I’ll be blogging every day in April except Sundays. Yikes! Challenge is right.

attitudeWe’ve all heard the saying attitdue is everything. What better way to focus on making sure my attitude remains as positive as possible then meeting new friends and reading blog posts sure to entertain and inspire me. And just maybe participating in this blogging challenge will help me be present, to appreciate where I am. To help me take a breath and take a look, and be encouraged by the writings and thoughts of my fellow bloggers.

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning ~ Gloria Steinem

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The Lure of Starting A New Project

Before you’ve finished the current one. For some reason this always happens to me when I’m almost finished. When I’m this close to being done. And I don’t know why. Although, in all honesty, I’ve never delved too deep into why that is.

And right now the lure of starting a brand new story is almost impossible to resist. But resist I must. Because try as I might I can’t work on two books at once. Just can’t.

And I’m this close!

Great quote on finishing!

And I guess that’s the thing. Once it’s done and submitted it’s out there and things are out of my control.

Which I find scary.

The Hobbit quote. Inspiring. The next book on my list after I finish North & South.

Always knew I had a lot in common with hobbits. So, off I go to finish my quest.

How about you?

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Grouchy Pants

Ugh. Why are they always a perfect fit?

grumpy

 

What’s that? You don’t care? Come back when I’ve got it together?

Fair enough. No one wants to hear about my grumpy business.

But what to do when one cannot even tolerate one’s self?

  • First, acknowledge your grumpy! Okay, done that.
  • Get moving! Next on my list.
  • Smile!
  • Clear clutter! It’s easier to throw stuff away when you’re feeling evil.
  • Listen to (upbeat) music!
  • Talk to a friend! Hi, there!
  • Write down the good stuff! Like how it’s FINALLY sunny! Yay! Or how I went out to lunch and didn’t have to cook!

happiness

 

Or

Read a book!

What a good idea! I’m busy reading through Vivian Arend’s Takhini Wolves series. Must say I’m enjoying them!

What’s your favorite method of getting rid of the grumps!

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Feeding Your Ego

A road trip with girlfriends is a good thing! Listening to one of my favorite celebrities speak at the end of it is even better. Jann Arden is a seriously talented singer, songwriter, and author. She’s is also one funny individual. She talked about many things Monday night at The Silver Spoon Dinner with Jann Arden event. That’s the wonderful thing about Jann Arden. Her honesty and the feeling your making a personal connection with her through her very personal stories.

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Jann talked about finding your passion. The thing that fills you up. She talked about letting your spirit guide your actions not your ego. About redefining your goals by reaching out instead of looking inward. Ego is about survival and battling for the future insist you see for yourself. Spirit is about effecting change in the world around you and letting your future find you.

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I get stuck in the rut of thinking about others egos. Scoffing and muttering over others who seem to wear it like a comfortable coat. But what about my own ego? Am I catering to it and harming my creative process?

Ego is not all about a negative boosting of our confidence and creating an over inflated version of our worth. Ego is also the thing that worries about what other people think of our efforts. It’s the measuring stick of worth that often comes up short. It stifles the creative process with a wet blanket of this isn’t good enough. Been there, felt that.

Jann gave me lots to think about. When we truly listen, when we open up to connections with others and their ideas, when we interact with the world around us in a meaningful way we are less on our own. When we pay less attention to our mind’s worries but settle ourselves and feel more with our gut we’re on the right track.

So I’ll work on it and worry less and create more. May the rest of the week be kind to you. May you find peace in a way that fills you up.

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Inspired.

Love this quote on Tumblr. Loved it immediately.

There’s too much “I need him, he completes me” and not enough “I complete me yet I want them along for this journey”

 

Also this!

soulIt’s March and here’s a lovely quote by Charles Dickens. Even though plump white snowflakes are falling as I type and there’s not a ray of sun to be found.

march

Channeling all these thoughts and using them to inspire in me as I revise away. We all know certain lines, often the cheesiest one in the bunch, get all the glory. But it’s what surrounds them and holds them up to the light that make the story. The quote by C.S. Lewis makes me question the lines I’ve written, encouraging me to see if there is truth in them or I’m merely making assumptions. Finally, my stories would no doubt ripen and flourish with a touch more imagery. The Charles Dickens quote inspires me to color my words.

Those were some of my thoughts this week. What inspired you?

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Latvia? Where it that again?

I love the Olympics! Even though I’m not a huge sports fan, there’s just something about these games. It’s…well, the Olympics. Anything is possible. There are plenty of magical moments.

There is inspiration to be found in the determination, dedication, and spirit of each competitor, whether they make it to the podium or not.

Here in Canada, we take our hockey seriously. VERY seriously. To lose out in the semis would be devastating. Kind of like it was for Russia yesterday, only that was worse…because hometown losses suck worse than others obviously. Like we almost did to Latvia. Because where is that again? Oh yeah, at the corner of Russia and Lithuania.

Yesterday their twenty-one year old back-up goalie, Kristers Gudlevskis, proved he could take on a team of NHL veterans and almost, but not quite thank you, God, shut them down. Although, the rest of his team did have something to do with it. He stopped 55 out of 57 shots. That’s, like, incredible. He’s Tampa Bay Lightening draft and plays on their farm team. Um…I think that’s about to change. He’s probably already filming a Visa commercial.

latvia

 

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He left it all out there as the cliche goes. Every drop of everything he had. This kid deserves Latvia’s version of a medal of honour. He certainly deserves our respect.

Greatness. It’s all around us. In every nook and cranny. Waiting to inspire us.

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Refilling The Creative Well

My creative well is feeling a bit shallow these days. I blame the dreaded January malaise. My work-in-progress is coming along. I’m about halfway done the first revision pass and the whole mess is sitting at about 87,000 words. But I’m at that point in my process where my imagination needs a little rejuvenating.

creative inspirationI love live theater! I don’t live in a huge city, we’re about 200,000 strong, but there are lots of arts and culture events to choose from if one is in the mood. Becky’s New Car is the latest offering by the Globe Theater. Done in the round, with minimal props, it’s all up to the actors. What a fabulous job they did. If you ever get a chance to see this play, I recommend it. So funny.

Becky’s feeling the effects of a humdrum, middle-aged life when she meets an beguiling millionaire. Stuck in middle management at her job, married forever, twenty-something son still living at home, trying to be everything for everybody, she inadvertently gives the wrong impression and finds herself at a fork in the road. With plenty of laughs along the way, it was the perfect way to fill my creative well.

“When a woman wants a new car, she really wants a new life.”

Becky's New Car

 

What’s you’re favorite way to rejuvenate your imagination?

 

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Our Gratitude Jar

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Last year we started a new tradition, a Gratitude Jar. Throughout the year we stuffed different bits and pieces inside the jar with the intention of opening it on New Year’s Eve. That didn’t happen. But we did open it one afternoon in early January.

New Fireplace 002

The idea was to remember all the good times we had shared the previous twelve months. It was a lot of fun to sit down together and go through it. Race bibs from the first ever 5km race my husband and son ran. The coaster my son’s alcoholic beverage sat on on his 19th birthday (legal drinking age here). My daughter’s campground maps. The receipt from my Donald Maass writing workshop. Etc, etc, etc.

New Fireplace 003Now it’s empty and sitting on the counter waiting to be filled with another year of memories.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Melody Beattie

What was one of your favorite experiences from 2013?

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Decorating in Discontent

Confidence-1I hate when that happens and I’m usually pretty good at not going there. But the last couple of days I did just that. It’s time to come back from the dark side. Because it does lead to darkness. You start to question your commitment. Worse your abilities, and it’s all downhill from there. Before you know it you’re wallowing. It’s lowering to admit. I don’t want to be the person who gives into jealousy and it’s poisonous head games. That’s when I knew I had to nip this shit in the bud.

First order of business. Figure out what’s making me crazy. I’m in the midst of a writing challenge. Not NaNo but within my own small writing group. My goal is to write a 1000 words a day. By no means an impossible task. I’m two-thirds of the way through. Writing first drafts always make me in turns euphoric and cranky. Add to that, I’m impatient to get to the revising/rewriting part of the process. I love revising. But writing the last third of a story, tying up all those lovely threads, pushing towards the end, makes me double crazy. And doubtful I’ll find a resolution that doesn’t completely suck. Cue my lurking insecurities.

So what do I do? I go to Goodreads. I visited the other day and was checking out new-to-me authors and looking for something to read. Because that’s what you do when you’re doing your level best to avoid your own writing. Found a couple of books I thought looked promising with 20,000 ratings and 2,000+ reviews each. When I checked further I found neither one of the stories were for me. <delete> There I saved you from my rant on selfish, abusive heroes.

That’s when jealousy moved in, signed a lease, and decorated in discontent.

I hate when that happens. It makes me feel small and petty. Not to mention unproductive. And unhappy. That’s when I have to start asking questions. Like what’s really wrong? Because it’s not poor Goodreads fault. And people like the books they like, end of story. They don’t need any more reasons than that to talk about the ones they loved reading. We’re as unique as the stories we prefer.

stress

So, lesson learned? Writing first drafts stress me out. What should I do to avoid more stress? Perhaps this is the month to reread a book. One of my favorites and an old friend. One I know will not only soothe my battered brain but inspire me. And I’ll try to remember I’m not trying to find a cure for cancer and stop taking myself so seriously. Sheesh. I’ll take a walk. Get some fresh air. I’ll choose to be positive and productive.

Three of my favorite writers are Tara Janzen, Suzanne Brockmann, and Nora Roberts. How about you? Do you reread books? Think of them as old friends? What do you do to keep from stressing out?

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I Can’t Resist a Craft Show

Coldstream Pottery

Coldstream Pottery

 

This past weekend saw my Mom and I schlepping our hinnies down the aisles of the annual Best To You Arts and Craft Sale. Three and half hours later we were tired, hungry, and peopled out. But also productive. I was on a mission and I think I scored some pretty good stuff. I’d much rather shop for Christmas gifts at a craft show then the mall despite the noise and the crowds.

But you always have to get a little something for yourself, as a reward for…something. Things I always watch for:

Pottery mugs with a hint of blue in them.

I collect handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments.

My special find were wooden vintage picture postcards from Cedar Mountain Studios. I thought they would make a wonderful future giveaway.

Maybe you’re not a craft sale junkie. Maybe you’re a crafter? Or DIYer? Maybe you just like to look at crafts others have made on Pinterest? Me too. You can find me there too!

Today is also the first day of my writing group, The Saskatchewan Romance Writers, November Writing Challenge. Yay! Can’t wait to finish this story. We report our ups and downs on Facebook. We cheer each other on to whatever goal we’ve chosen. Mine is a 1000 words a day until the story is finished. I’m about two/thirds of the way through and struggling away at what is the hardest part of any story to write, for me anyway. The time where some things are wrapped up, some things are only started to be revealed, and your stringing others out. The hero and heroine are indulging in their need for each other and navigating new found feelings blissfully unaware of what’s coming at them.

Which means I’m going to need some new music. So after as a reward for 1000 words written I’ll be heading to iTunes to see what inspires me for tomorrow and the day after. Right now I’m listening to Aaron Lines and The Lights of My Hometown. It’s working my fictional small prairie town of Aspen Lake is calling and scenes need to be written.

Yep, I love what I do.

Happy writing! If you’re not writing, then happy reading! If it’s neither of those two, then press on and enjoy the hell out of whatever it is you’re doing! And remember to reward yourself and add to your precious collections when you’re able.

 

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