Inspiration for my day. Thought I’d share. Enjoy!
What creative thing have you done today?
I am not a car girl, but I love to watch BBC’s Top Gear. Yet, I don’t watch it for the expensive cars or races. I watch for the adventure that takes place every week. You never know where the hosts will end up – or what they’ll catch on fire. There’s always a story to be shown, whether in a Ferrari, in a Pinto or in a mini-van. That’s the beauty of the show – the creative story telling.
Our writing should be the same. We should always look for creative ways to show our stories, to show the conflict or journey of our characters. And from watching the show, I’ve learned a lot more about story telling than I have about cars.
Five Lessons I’ve Learned from Top Gear:
After all, isn’t that why we write fiction? To explore new ideas and stories, have some fun along the way?
What do you love most about fiction?
Unlocking the creative words from our heads can be a challenge. As a writer, I’ve struggled with that on a daily basis. Some days, I stare at the blank page and think what on earth am I doing? Others, the words flow and I can’t stop them.
As I’m walking this pregnancy journey, my brain has been more unfocused these days. My creative output isn’t what it was pre-pregnacy. And I forget simple stuff. My doctor calls it “prego brain.” While I love the idea of our coming child, I’m not a fan of the prego brain! It’s so annoying.
So how do you overcome the beast of un-creativity?
Tips to Unleash Your Creativity
What ways have you found to inspire your creative muse?
We’ve all complained there aren’t enough hours in the day. I know I’m guilty. If there were just a couple more hours, I could get it all done. Yet, we all have 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Why do some people seem to manage their time better, get more stuff done, become more efficient or successful?
In our society, we’re plagued with busyness. So how do we overcome it?
We weren’t designed to be robots. We weren’t even designed to be producers. Yet somewhere along the way, our culture has turned us into would be robots that get our self-esteem from our quantity of production.
But I’ve found my life to be more fulfilling, more successful and more joyful when I pursue quality in my life over the quantity. I have to cut out as many unnecessary things as I can to focus on what’s important. For example, my husband and I recently found out we are expecting our first baby in August. While the planner in me wants to get everything cleaned up and the nursery ready yesterday, my body and mind say slow down. I can’t get as much done as I want at one time. Through this pregnancy, I’ve found it’s okay to enjoy the moment and not feel guilty that I’m not doing something. The dishes can be done later. The clothes folded in a little while. I’m enjoying the rest while I can, before baby comes.
Turn the Time-Eaters Off
According to Nielsen, the average American spends 34 hours a week watching TV. Ouch. I didn’t realize we watched so much. That’s nearly 5 hours a day. And that’s not counting the hours we spend at movie theaters or on social media outlets such as Facebook.
Sure, it’s good to enjoy life and have fun, but sometimes, I have to ask myself if I’m overindulging. So maybe today, I’ll turn the TV off. Or I’ll ask myself, are my daily activities pushing me closer to my goals? Are they helping me grow as a writer or strengthen my family? Or are they Time-Eaters, the busy things that make me feel like I’ve accomplished something today?
How about you? Are all of those extra rehearsals and practices sucking up too much time? Are there moments when turning off the TV would help out? Are you filling your day with noise rather than with things that matter?
When we go through our day without enjoying art or beauty in the world, maybe there’s something missing. By pursuing quality in the things we do, over quantity, we step out of our mediocre life. Get in tune with your spirit life, family, nature, art, music, literature – the beautiful things that lift us up, not tear us down.
10 Tips to Find the Quality Over Quantity in Your Life:
“Hey, you want to be an artist? Ain’t no money in that.” – Si Robertson, Duck Dynasty
I love A & E’s hit show Duck Dynasty. The Robertson family grew their small duck call building business from a small, one-man operation into a multi-million dollar company. Now, every week, I get to watch their crazy antics and goofy quotes as they try to keep their family and their business growing. And I can’t get enough of it!
What’s Your Passion?
When you’re passionate about what you do, like the Robertson’s, you have to do it. And to be successful, something needs to happen everyday to grow you closer to your dream.
I don’t write for money. I don’t write for fame. I write because it’s truly a part of who I am. An expression of all the things I long to tell others. It’s what wakes me up in the middle of the night when an idea hits me. It’s what gets me up early in the morning when I’m not a morning person. So why wouldn’t I write everyday?
Even if I only have five or ten minutes, I can still jot an idea down. It’s not work to me (except when I’m editing). I love it. And when I’m not writing, I feel pretty miserable.
So what’s your dream? What steps are you taking to make it happen?
Grow, Grow, Grow
You may have little seeds of ideas at first. Or you may have no clue how to proceed. Start researching. Here are a few ideas to help you out:
Those seeds will start to grow, even turn into bigger ideas. You’ll be more prepared. You’ll know how to proceed.
Don’t Give Up
Remember, your dream may take many months or years to achieve. It took me several years before I actually called myself a writer. I still have the dream of a published novel. I’m about 8 years into my writing life, and that dream is becoming closer to a reality. I can see it.
But even if I never publish that novel, I believe I’ve caught my dream. I live the life of a writer everyday, and grow more and more passionate about my art. Like the Robertson’s, I believe in putting family and faith first, and doing something everyday to draw you closer to your dream.
In what ways have you grown that have helped you step closer to your dream?
Check out the rest of the series, Catch Your Dream:
As this new year begins, I’m thinking about all the writing I’d like to get done. My goals are often bigger than probably possible. But maybe that keeps me writing, who knows? These tips have helped me this past year, so I hope they’ll help you in this new year.
What things have helped you become successful in your writing?
I can hardly believe it’s almost over – 2012 has flown by. It was only January of this year I started blogging. I’m blown away with how much fun it’s been and by the positive response from all of you. Thanks so much to all my faithful readers. You’ve encouraged me over this year and pushed me to grow as a writer. So as I write my last post for this year, it’s for you guys.
I’m looking forward to a new year of writing. My plans are big – complete revisions on my NaNoWriMo novel, as well as complete the second book in my YA series which I started earlier this year. And here’s to high hopes that the first book will find a publisher in the new year – that would be amazing. And of course, lots more blogging, too!
Wishing you all a blessed and happy New Year’s! Thank you guys. You’re the best!
Just a thought for today from my favorite poet, Robert Frost, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the holidays. New Year’s is not far behind. I’ve felt many times in my life that I’ve chosen to take the least expected path, the more difficult road for the sake of art. So how about you? What are you writing about? Is it worth telling? Don’t be afraid to write it or to tell that story.
Have a Merry Christmas!
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
I thought I’d share my winning short story for the North Texas Christian Writers recent Christmas Story contest.
Feel free to share with others, but I ask if you repost on your blog, please give a link back to this site and author credit.
Hope you enjoy!
Joe’s watch beeped. Already 6:00 o’clock? Finally. “That’s it folks. Last call.”
“This the best trees you got left?” A man with a bright orange knit cap scratched his chin.
The tent was like a graveyard of frazzled trees, bare branches. Needles littered the ground. A sharp breeze swept through the tent, the back wall flapping. Snow floated down in gentle lilts. Wouldn’t be too much longer before a white sheet frosted the road.
“It’s Christmas Eve.” Joe tried not to roll his eyes. What did this city boy expect? “We sold the best ones already.” Why do these guys wait until the last minute? Expect a tree to rival the one in Times Square? Typical. “Look, this is all there is. You want one, it’s yours. Half off. We got to get rid of ‘em.”
The man nodded, fingered the branch of the last Douglas fir. Not much to write home about, with its bald coat of needles and dried up scent, but maybe he wouldn’t notice. Joe tapped his leg. His wife had the ham in the oven, and he could almost feel the warmth of the fireplace on his nose.
A sudden shriek broke the air. A boy and girl, about eight and ten, chased each other around the center tent pole, giggling.
“Excuse me.” Joe sighed. “I’ll be right back.”
“Take your time.”
Joe trudged past. “Hey, you kids need to find your parents.”
But the kids ran to the far side of the tent, screaming louder.
Why did parents think it was his job to babysit? He had work to do. And a long drive home. Joe clenched his fists, stalked toward them. The little boy ran round a spruce, grazed the branches. The thing crashed to the ground and knocked over a Christmas wreath display.
“Hey!” Joe ran to the tree and picked it up. A pair of broken branches at the bottom, one at the top. No star would sit straight on this tree. The kids laughed and ran to another poll. Joe’s jaw ticked. He could really use that hot chocolate about now.
The man in the orange cap walked up to the kids and whispered something. So, he was their dad. Great.
Joe marched up. “You’re going to have to pay for that tree your kids knocked over.”
“Sure, I’m sorry about that.” He pointed at the fir tree. “We’ll take both.”
“Whatever,” Joe muttered. What’s a man need with two trees? On Christmas Eve? “I’ll get them netted up.” He glared at the kids as he hauled the fir to the baler.
“Did you sell a lot of trees this year?” the man asked.
Joe shrugged. “Yeah, like normal.” Christmas patrons running in and out, hurrying to their next shopping paradise. “We did alright this year.”
Joe didn’t tell him that he’d rather be anywhere than here tonight. How he really hate all the Christmas commercialism, and the fact that every one of these trees would be thrown out in a few days…such a waste. There wasn’t much point to any of it. As long as he got paid, enough to buy his kids presents and keep the wife happy.
That’s all that mattered.
Joe lugged the fir to the man’s truck and tossed it in the bed, then grabbed the broken one. “Did you forget to buy a tree earlier or something?”
The man opened the truck door, and the kids crawled inside. “No. I already have a tree at home.”
“So what do you need all these trees for?”
“You said I had to buy the one the kids knocked down. And their mother will love this fir. She grew up in the mountains. The scent will remind her of home.” He slammed the tailgate and leashed a rope over the trees. “She lost her job last week. These are her kids, my neighbors. When I found out they weren’t getting any presents this year, I had to do something. That’s what the trees are for. Even if it is for one night, hopefully, they’ll feel a little bit of warmth. A little bit like Christmas.”
Joe stuffed his hand in his pocket. The man’s cash was warm against his iced fingers. Why didn’t the man say as much before? Joe looked at the kids. The little girl smiled and waved. She had the same brown curls as his own little girl, who was probably counting her gifts under their over-stuffed tree right now.
Joe sighed. “Here.” Joe handed the cash back.
The man held up his hands. “No, I can’t keep it.”
“I insist.” Joe wrapped his around the bills. “Get them some presents to go under the tree, too.”