Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Zeal, Zest and Zipadeedoodah!

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

Zeal, and Zest are tools that every writer and artist need to have in their daily creativity toolbox.

Zeal keeps us working tirelessly and enthusiastically towards our goals.

Zest keeps our work spicy and fresh!

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah! - We are done! Although I love A to Z, I also love this last day, and the feeling of accomplishment it brings.

Many thanks to all awesome

A to Z Team for 2012

Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)
Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Life is Good (Tina Downey)
Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons)
Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)
The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)
The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)
Author Elizabeth Mueller (Elizabeth Mueller)
Pearson Report (Jenny Pearson)
No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)Coming Down The Mountain (Karen Jones Gowen)

Sing with me now:

Next up for blog challenges: check out that sidebar on the right for some of my upcoming participations in blog hops and my special guest Karen Lange, whose guest post will be here this Thursday.

Next up for writing challenges: I'll be entering into my planned 100 Day Final Revision (final meaning as far as I can take it without professional editorial help) starting May 1st, and although I won't update on that every day, I'll be adding updates to my blog posts.

On a thankfulness for small things side note:

In real life, as I was sitting down to dinner on late Saturday night exhausted from 5 hours of yardwork and a 4 mile bike ride, my daughters' friend shouted, "There's blood on the floor! It's everywhere!"

Our beagle dog, Jumper, had come in earlier and taken up his usual spot on the top of the stairway. He stayed there, apparently wiped out from his excursions while I fussed around the house and made dinner. Actually, he was hiding a two inch long gash in his hind paw that went down to the bone. He didn't get up and walk until I set the table for dinner, when he trailed pools of blood around the house.

We took him to an emergency vet clinic and he stayed overnight for surgery. The vet called us at 11:30 p.m. to let us know that although he had lost a lot of blood, and his tendon had to be stitched back together, he looked like he would be all right.

I picked him up Sunday morning, and he's groggy, unhappy with his "cone of shame" and the big bandage on his leg, but otherwise his usual cheerful self.

 Right now, I'm just thankful that I don't have to deal with any puddles of blood today, and that my family, including my four footers are ok.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Y

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

Y = Yield

1. To provide as return for effort or investment.
2. To give over possessin of, to surrender.

One of my husband's co-workers recently retired, and since he is planning a retirement celebration vacation down in Las Vegas (where his son works as a professional poker player), the send off included a slide show set to Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler":

"You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away, and know when to run"

Due to an interesting childhood raised in a home where Broadway musical scores, Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky were played alongside Harry Belanfonte, The Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, I happen to know the lyrics to that song really well . . . and when my husband told me about the retirement party, they just stuck in my head the rest of the week and became mixed up with today's post.

As creative artists/writers, we need to know when to hold onto our work, and when to let it go.

Yielding isn't something that comes to most of us naturally, and most of the time we pride ourselves as creative writers, artists, and thinkers as being UNyielding.

However, if we want someone to read our work, we have to let it go and let others read it, give us feedback, help us make it stronger. If we truly want our work to yield a good harvest, we have to let others help us prune and weed.

Sometimes, we also need to know when to walk away, and when to run.

I have a book with several attempts at revisions sitting in a plastic box in my closet. Someday I want to return to it. I still love those characters. But I realized several years ago that I had to set it aside, fold it up, and walk away from it for a while. I yearn for it, but I know I'm not ready to tackle it yet. I've yielded it up to a future time, when I'm ready to tell that story.

Do you know when to yield and when to remain unyielding in your creative endeavors?

Have you ever yielded your work to someone else for constructive criticism?

BTW: my laptop had some major issues, so for the past few days I've been working somewhat haphazardly from my husband's pc (usually in use by him), and my laptop was cleaned off and rebooted (by my hubby who probably has better "tech"ese to describe the process) So, hopefully now I'll be able to visit a few more people in the last few days of A to Z.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z Challenge: X

Theme: Creativity Toolbox
The Source of this Image
X = Xylem


Xylem: plant tissue consisting of thick walled cells that provide support and through which water and dissolved minerals are conducted to the various plant parts.

Years ago, my kids and I did an awesome science experiment with a stalk of celery and colored water. The xylem in the celery brought the colored water from the bottom of the stalk to the top. This experiement is pretty cool with carnations, daffodils and other plants too, but you can see the xylem in the celery stalk and watch the process take place over a few hours.

So what in the world do xylem have to do with writing and creativity?

I think we need to root ourselves in creativity, and let that creativity be conducted to the various parts of our lives.

However, I'm going to take a little step further because of something I truly believe, and know.

To truly be creative, I think we need to root ourselves in God, the Creator and Redeemer of our world. When we soak up creativity and life-giving goodness from our Creator, our souls are going to conduct all of that into every part of our lives.

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6,7).

Where have you planted your roots?

Creativity Challenge: Try a science experiment, or write about what conducts life to your system.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z Challenge: W

from Scenic Reflections

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

When we want to boost our creativity, I think we need to learn to be wayfarers of wonder, whimsy, and wisdom.

Wayfarers are foot travelers. When we walk places we move slowly enough to experience the angle of the path beneath our feet, the sounds of wind rushing through tree branches, the smell of cherry blossoms, the changing patterns of the weather, and the flittering of birds in a bush.

Wayfarers have time for wonder, whimsy and even moments of wisdom.

So, today, I highly encourage you all to take a walk and be a wayfarer. Experience the world of wonder around you, let yourself be whimsical, or even wise.

If walking is tough for you, find another way to get outside and be a wayfarer. My husband prefers to bike, and although it does speed by a little faster, I think it still gives him time to wonder as he travels from one place to another.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Vision

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” by Marcel Proust

Vision: 1. the act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight
2. a vivid, imaginative conception

Vivid vision is an essential part of writing, and creative thinking.

Our vision of the world, shaped by our world view, and made even brighter with our vivid imaginations can be the source of many creative endeavors.

Creativity Toolbox Exercise: Take a look at the world around you with new eyes, then close your eyes and take a vivid visionary voyage of creativity.
"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades,
I gotta wear shades" - Timbuk3

BTW - I had a pic for this post, but my pc and blogger seem to be having an argument and I can't seem to paste pictures or even see pictures on my blog at the moment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Unique

One of the things that I love about the A to Z Challenge is the opportunity to read so many unique posts by unique bloggers. We each have a unique way of looking at the world, and our individual gifts pour through in the midst of challenging ourselves for creativity.

Uniqueness is a gift that each of us have. It's not something we need to put in our creativity toolbox, as much as it is something to appreciate about ourselves and about each other. We are each a masterpiece of gifts, talents, skills, dreams, and hopes, created for greatness.

Creativity Challenge - go out and visit as many unique bloggers out there as you can, and give them appreciative encouragement!

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

Monday, April 23, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Time

Time, a precious commodity, more valuable than silver or gold.

We need it, and I have little today, so this post is going to be super short.


Do you think it's essential for a writer, or a creative thinker, or an artist, or musician?

How do you use your time wisely?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Sassy Strength

Image of a Sassafras tree from Aiden Brooks Spices

Why do we need Sassy Strength in our Creativity Toolbox?

Let's look at some information first.

"Sassafras is the only uniquely North American spice, with its kitchen usage restricted to a small area of the US. Filè powder (ground sassafras leaves) is an important ingredient in the two cuisines of Louisiana, Creole and Cajun."
"The essential oil of sassafras which is obtained from the root, is (after removal of safrole) used for flavouring root beer, an American beverage dating from the 19th century."
Quotes from Aiden Brooks Spices blog

SASSY . . .
1,impudent: impudent or disrespectful
2.high-spirited: lively and high-spirited

1. quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor.
2. mental power, force, or vigor.
3. moral power, firmness, or courage.

Sassy Strength is essential in those moments when our projects seem in disarray and someone says to us:

"Are you the lady who is writing a novel? I heard about you from ________. What qualifies you to write a novel? What background do you have that makes you think you can be a writer?"

These are real questions I was asked just a few days ago . . .

And it was the last question that struck a nerve . . .especially since I felt like all my writing that day sucked.

However, I felt I needed to answer that one for writers everywhere so I answered with a touch of sassy strength:

"Yes, I'm a writer, and I write every day. I've been writing all my life. I've taken classes. and I've written three rough drafts of novels."

When further questioned I added that I've had poems and short stories published, and I have experience writing, and teaching writing classes to homeschool kids.

The conversation ended up going to friendlier ground, but there was a moment when I had to be sassy and strong to get past my own insecurities.

So, be sassy, be strong. Write. Create.

Trust that God created you for good purposes, and one of those purposes is to be creative.

Creativity Toolbox Exercise: Tell someone today that you are a writer, or a musician, or an artist. Say it to the mirror. Honor the creative spark within you, and don't let anyone put you down.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A to Z Challenge: A hint of Random

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, every writer, creative thinker, and artists needs organization, needs margin, and needs to be awakened to the amazing, audacious world around them. We need to ask questions, and we need faithfulness, hope, and endurance.

We also need that hint of Randomness. Somwhere in the midst of our everyday, passionate, faithful, creative work, we need a hint of random.

Yesterday I had a post planned . . .this isn't it. It's a moment of randomness unexpected. Why?

Because I had a surprise project yesterday - one that I didn't expect to get involved in at all. One that opened up my creative horizons in a new way.

My husband, an engineer by heart and by profession, is also a video editor and producer for our church, and for three different dance studios.

A friend of ours, an amazing, creative dance director wanted to create an artistic video highlighting the extraordinary in the ordinary of movement, showcasing how all movement is dance, and dance is all movement.

My husband agreed to take on the project, but when presented with hours of video clips, and several selections of music, he felt overwhelmed by the openess of the vision, especially since the video was expected to be fairly short.

So last night I stayed up late and  helped him make connections between over forty slices of video, and two selections of music. Three hours of passionate work gave us 3 and a half minutes of video with music.

The amazing part of this random, unexpected moment is I feel refreshed, renewed, and excited about not only this randomly new project, but for my writing as well . . .

A hint of random can be refreshing.

Creative Toolbox Exercise: Do something new and random today!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Questions

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

Q = Questions

Questions start us on the quest of creativity.

What if . . . is often a starting point for a story or a creative endeavor.

What if a young woman who spent her whole life training to be a warrior, found that she couldn't stand the sights and stench of actual battle? What if her sword of power worked only when she had confidence and faith? What happens when she despairs or doubts?

Those are some of the questions that started me on my quest to finish The Crystal Sword. 

My youngest daughter took a photography class at our local zoo last summer, and the lesson she remembers the most came from this question: what if you changed the angle on your shot, and took a photo from a different perspective?

What questions inspire your creative endeavors?

Creativity Toolbox: Look around you, and within you, and ask a "what if" question today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Passion

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

P = Passion

Passion drives us in any creative endeavor. When we are passionate about our writing, we work beyond the time allotted, we find ourselves thinking about our writing in the car, in the midst of conversations, in odd moments of our day. We make time in our busy schedules, and we push forward when the going gets rough.

Passion is essential.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Organization

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

O = Organization
Organization is not an area I'm gifted with. Formal outlines make me cringe. I prefer napkins and stray pieces of paper covered in odd bubble map type notes and journals that include pictures, maps, story ideas, poetry, and scribbles.

However, after writing rough drafts for three novels, and getting neck deep in revisions for my current WIP, I have found a new respect for the formal outline, and for all organizational tools.

Organization is a required tool for the creativity toolbox, whether I like it or not.

I need lists of my characters' names, maps of the countries my characters visit and the world the live in, formal character files, and even that dreaded formal outline that makes me want to curl my toes in protest.

Screen shot of Hierarchical Outline in HTML and CSS Free Web Template

Organization can free up my time, my writing space, and my mind so that I can be creative. That's why I feel like it's an essential part of a Creativity Toolbox.

What do you think? Is organization necessary?

Creativity Toolbox Exercise: Take a moment and organize some part of your project.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z Challenge: No Reservations

Ok, I needed a break, some space, some Margin (last post), and my family and I watched a movie on Friday night that stayed with me through the weekend. No Reservations is a sweet romantic dramedy about a control freak chef who finds her world turned around by her niece and her new sous-chef. I can't say this is a movie that will make it into the classics, but I loved it. It was the perfect blend of drama, comedy and romance that I needed for a "margin" moment with my family.

So what does this have to do with my theme, Creativity Toolbox?

I want to focus on two things from the movie.

First, the title:

 "No Reservations: Life isn't always made to order"

Isn't that true of our creative lives?
Our projects don't always fit the order we intended.
Sometimes we stray from our outlines, and our carefully ordered plans to find new life in a story that's gone stale.

And second, the slowly changing attitude of the head chef played by Catherine Zeta Jones:
 She starts by saying she "Never" does a number of things like she "Never drinks wine at work," she "Never eats in the afternoons", and she "Never dates guys who sing opera." Her "Nevers" have locked her into a box. It's a safe box, but a lonely one.

What Nevers do you have in your life?
Are they healthy "nevers" or are they keeping you from your creative potential?

I'm not saying we shouldn't have standards to live by, just that we need to be thoughtful about those standards. "Never" is a pretty strong word when it starts keeping people out, and keeping our creativity in a box.

A to Z Challenge - Just keep writing those posts!

Creativity Toolbox Exercise: Write a list of 10 things you've Never done, but want to do, then pick one and write a story about it, or create a song, a poem, etc.

Or, take a look at the core of your current project and give yourself a moment of "unplanned" creativity.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A to Z Challenge: M

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

M = Margin

Definitions of Margin: 1. An edge or border.

2. The blank space that surrounds the written area on a page.

3. An extra amount allowed beyond what is needed.

Creative thinkers, creative writers, creative artists need margin. Why?

"Marginless is fatigue; margin is energy.
Marginless is hurry; margin is calm.
Marginless is culture; margin is counterculture.
Marginless is the disease of the new millennium; margin is its cure."
- from Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard A. Sweson, M.D.

We all know what it's like to feel like we just don't have enough time. We need to create margin in our lives to have time to be creative, time to daydream and time to relax enough to be creative.

Our writing needs the blank space around it, so readers have space for their imagination.

Our art, and music need the margin of an edge so that those who view and listen have a space or a moment to fill in that border with their own art and music.

We all need the extra amount allowed beyond what is needed - that's the beauty of grace.

Do you have margin in your life?

Creativity Toolbox Exercise: Create some margin in your life, writing, and creative endeavors. Allow yourself an extra amount of time beyond what you thought you needed to fulfill a project. Give yourself time to relax. Give yourself grace.

Nearly five years ago, I had the priveledge of hearing Richard A. Swenson speak at my church, and I was impressed by his knowledge of health, science, and Biblical truths. Check out his website here: Richard Swenson

Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z: Love

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

L = Love

I love the awesome love of Jesus that has given me the strength and love to love others. I love the sweet love of my husband, but today I want to focus on the love that drives our creative endeavors.

Love isn't just a state of being, it's an action. Love drives us forward when we really want to take a step back. Love is a choice that we make each day when we wake up and find ourselves in love with our creative endeavors again, or when we choose to wake up and love on our creative endeavors even when our projects seem to be at a standstill.

Do you love your creative projects, or choose to love them even when the going gets rough?

Creativity Love Challenge: Take some time today and love on your current creative endeavor. Write, paint, draw, make music. Enjoy!

I apologize for the lateness and hastiness of my post this morning. I woke up with an idea in my head, and wrote for two hours . . .it was a blissful love of writing that got me going today. Yesterday it was more of the working, choosing kind of love for writing that kept me going.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A to Z: Knowledge, Key, Kaleidoscope

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

K = Knowledge, Key, Kaleidoscope?

Knowledge can be the key that opens up a kaleidoscope of creativity.

image from Tastes Like Purple

Kaleidoscopes give us a new way to see the world, even the cheapest plastic ones that are found in the dollar store . . .new knowledge can open up a kaleidoscope of creativity when we take a look at the world through fresh eyes.

Have you ever had a tiny bit of new knowledge open up a new creative endeavor for you?

Creativity Toolbox Knowledge, Key, and Kaleidoscope Writing/Creativity Exercise: Discover something new today, or use a kaleidoscope to look at the world, and then draw/create/write about it!

Or take a look at some old keys and imagine what doors they might open.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Joy

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

J = Joy

Creativity brings joy, and joy creates life-giving creations. Joy and creativity build each other up, again and again.

What brings you joy?

Creativity/Writing Challenge: Write or create something that brings you joy!

(by hersley)

The Sensational Haiku Wednesdaytheme this week is happiness:

Happiness smiles wide
Laughter bubbles up inside
until joy resides

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

I = Inspiration

Inspiration sparks us deep within our souls, minds and hearts to urge us forward in creativity. Inspiration can start with words, music, images, people, faith, and experiences and build within us to blossom in our writing, our art, our music, our words, our relationships with others, and all that we do.

Here are a few sources of inspiration for me lately:

This picture is from BlackComb Mtn, above Whistler Village where the 2010 Olympics took place. Whistler is actually home to two Mtn ski areas - Whistler and BlackComb. We skied and boarded both last week. Skiing isn't just great exercise, but it seems to fill me up on the inside too. My father-in-law at age 72 still skis black diamond and double black diamond runs. He's in better shape than all of his kids and grandkids and he inspires all of us to keep moving.  

My parents are also both very determined to live life to the fullest, no matter their age. Recently, I taught them "how to" blog so they could keep everyone posted on their scooter trip to Savannah, Georgia. They are on the road and still getting the hang of blogging, but you can visit them at Scooter Trippin and see them in their all weather gear. They are both in their 70's and wearing special motorcycle gear with "armor" inside that will hopefully protect them. Then they have huge "all weather" suits for the rain that go on top of that. The way they live their lives inspires me to dream big and then make those dreams happen.

Other people that inspire me are: my homeschool co-op students, my kids, my mom-in-law, my family, my friends, and my blogging buddies.

Thank you for inspiring me to dream, to write, to create, and to live life fully!

Creativity/Writing Exercise: Write about someone who inspires you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Hope

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

                                           H =


Hope is the seed planted,
the word standing alone in a field of white
the Wright brothers tries before flight,
the dream with roots growing into rich soil.

Creativity Toolbox, Writing Exercise for Hope:
Write down your hopes today. What do you hope for? What fills you with hope?

Sorry for posting so late today. Getting back to real life after vacation has been busy, and for some reason I had half of an "I" post but no "H" for today . . .

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Goals

A to Z Challenge 

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

G = Goals

Goals are essential to any creative endeavor. Goals can help us complete our creative endeavors, or help us see them more clearly.

Even if the goal is simply to enjoy, it is a good goal.

I've found that a combination of goals works best for me: goals for completing specific projects, with mini-step goals, and goals that are just for pure enjoyment days.

Do you use goals for your writing or your creative endeavors?

Creativity/Writing Exercise: Make a goal, or a series of step-goals.

Sorry about the short post today. I'm posting by the seat of my pants as my family packs up around me. We are headed home after an amazing ski/snowboard vacation in Whistler, B.C. - one of our favorite places away from home. Today, with sore muscles and rested minds, we are ready to drive back to "real" life and tackle our daily goals with new vigor.

And many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for the sweet shout out today at his blog!!! Alex is a huge blessing in the blog world, so check out his blog if you haven't already at Alex J. Cavanaugh

Have a Happy, Blessed Easter!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Faithfulness

A to Z Challenge

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

F = Faithfulness

Faithfulness in faith, relationships, crafting, and writing pushes us to creativity as we find ways to make the every day stuff meaningful and fun.

Faithfulness to me means that "I'm in" every day. It's beyond just a statement of belief and into a practice of that belief.

Faithfulness is important in the creativity toolbox, because I believe that faithfulness forces us to grow creatively. Writing daily sometimes gets a little boring. So, faithful daily practice can force us to find ways to make it more exciting . . . which ultimately leads to more creativity.

I'll share an example from when my kids were little. They wanted my husband or I to tell them the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears every single night. If you've ever read or told the same story every night, you know that it can get a little stale after a while. So we started to get creative.

We told: Goldilocks and the Three Goldfish who lived in an enchanted stream; Goldilocks and the Stolen Skateboard, Goldilocks meets Sleepy "Beautypants" (pronounced Bootypants by our youngest), and many other variations that made us laugh.

Faithfulness in Writing Exercise:
Write Every Day. When you get bored and start making excuses, change something about the way you write. Write a different genre. Write a scene you've already written with just dialogue or just action. Write a letter to your character. Write at a different time of day. Draw something first and then write over your drawing. Just keep writing.

Faithfulness in faith: God is faithful even when we fail. Turn to him, and find out that he's been there all along. "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A to Z Challenge: E for Excitement and Endurance

A to Z Challenge
Theme: Creativity Toolbox

E = Excitement and Endurance

Excitement for a new project, for a new idea, for a creative way of looking at the world often jumps starts any creative project, whether writing or art, or cooking or photography, or music . . .

Endurance keeps us moving forward when the excitement has worn off, when the new project hits a snag, when the writing seems stale, the art feels empty, the cooking experiment has the wrong texture, the photo comes out blurry, and the music just doesn't capture the mood.

Excitement and endurance work together to get us to the finish and beyond that into the next project. We need both.

Yesterday I skied the Peak to Creek run at Whistler Mountain, in Whistler, Canada. The Peak to Creek run is 6.8 miles (11km) and tests skier and boarder endurance.

The Peak Chair is on the right going up to the top. The last part of the chair ride goes up over a sheer rock cliff.
It started out with excitement, especially on a sunny, powdery-snow day like yesterday. Then somewhere in the middle, my leg muscles were screaming, knees were wobbling, and then I fell into a bank of powdery snow and wedged my ski and boot under three feet of snow.

It didn't just happen to me but a couple of other people with us on the run.

Excitement had worn off at that point. I almost wanted to just lay on the powdery snow and say, "dig me out in the spring" but I dug out my ski, watched my sister-in-law help a stranger dig out her ski, and then we went down to an easy cat track run and let our legs rest.

Excitement and endurance together made the day a great ski day for me. One wouldn't have been enough. Endurance wouldn't have been joyous enough, and excitement wouldn't have lasted long enough. Excitement and Endurance worked together.

In my writing life, my current WIP is under critique. I have sticky notes everywhere, plans to cut pages of material and add others. A week ago, all excitement was gone and I was just in endurance mode. To keep my writing moving forward I wrote short stories and poetry, and then marked up my novel with more ink. I wanted to finish it in a rush - get it done, move on, but I also want it be good. It's going to take another rewrite. I will plan that out this month, get my sticky notes in order, and then I'm going to do a 100 day revision starting May 1st. Endurance is key, but I am having a few moments of excitement in my revision planning so I hope that endurance and excitement will work together for me through the end of the 100 day revision.

Writing Excitement and Endurance Exercise:
1. Write something that fills you with the sense of excitement!
2. Give yourself endurance writing times - 10 minutes today, 30 tomorrow, an hour the next day, three hours the next. How long can you keep writing?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A to Z Challenge: D

Theme: Creativity Toolbox

D = Dance

Writing is a dance of language.” – Ivan Doig

Dance sets you free, gives shape and definition to a moment of music or silence, and focuses your mind rhythm and movement, the shape of space in a room, the feel of air cupped on your fingers, and the steady floor beneath your feet.

Have you ever danced with your words?

One of the reasons I love the quote, “Writing is a dance of language,” is that it brings up imagery in my mind of a writer dancing with words like a ballroom dancer perfectly partnered. I’m not sure my writing has ever achieved that, but I like to dream of a day when it might.

Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Ninja Captain Alex

Sticking with my theme, and trying to keep this all short, I have just a bit of advice to give for anyone who is struggling with their writing. Dance with your words today. Enjoy it!

Sensational Haiku Wednesday hosted by You Know That Blog?

The theme this week was open. This group of haiku was inspired by a young dancer my family knows who lost her ability to dance in an accident. She had to undergo physical therapy to regain basic movement and is beginning to be active in life again.

accidents happen
long held plans, glorious dreams
lost in a moment

she leaps only inside
floats across stages in dreams
swept away by pain

balance eludes her
yet she holds herself straight, poised
in the wings of life

the curtain rises
she lifts her chin, raises her
voice and sings out proud

So, please, dance today. Dance out loud. Dance in your head. Dance to loud music. Dance to silence. Dance with your words.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Creativity and Color

A to Z Challenge
Theme: Creativity Toolbox
C = Color

As a writer I often find myself staring a white, blank screen with black letters. It gets a little old. Sometimes I long for a splash of color. In fact, I need color to heighten my level of creativity.

Oddly enough, until this last year I never used pictures to help me write my novels. Never. I used pictures to help with poetry, flash fiction, and devotionals, but never with my novel writing. Last year before NaNoWriMo 2011, I took part in a fun blogfest that demanded that I find pictures for my characters and while I was doing that I started finding pictures for the landscapes and the creatures in my story. Soon I had a poster board filled with colorful pictures, and my story flowed faster and easier with that color-filled add to my writing area.

Color can add a deep, rich element to any creative endeavor - even one that mainly finds itself focused on black letters on a white page.

Look outside and gaze at the amazing colors of the creation around you . . . don't you think it's amazing how our Creator took the time to paint the world in striking colors?

Do you use color to boost your creative endeavors beyond shades of gray?

Color Writing Exercise:
Use colored pencils to write a story. Or collect a collage of pictures that represent your story, and spend some time looking at them before you sit down to write. Or draw/paint/collage a picture and then write about it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Theme: Creativity Toolbox
B = Be Bold
Boldness isn’t something comes naturally to me. Yet, I think some of our most creative endeavors come from experiences we’ve had, and we can’t have experiences without being a little bold.

My worst fear is open water. It’s very specific. I can wade, sail, boogie board, swim by the shore, and I’m ok.
However, getting off a boat that’s offshore and getting into open water is scary stuff for me. My imagination goes nuts, and I don’t want to feel, see, or think about what might be in the water with me. When I was younger and first learning to waterski, I tried to claw my way out of the water, hyperventilating in panic. It happened more than once, and even happened once after I had been waterskiing for a few years . . . I thought I saw something in the water, and basically made myself crash in panic.
However, last year in April my family and I snorkeled in Hawaii with manta rays, sharks, and green sea turtles. Those experiences were awesome, amazing, and for me – downright bold. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sensation of jumping into the water, snorkel gear on, and just letting my fear go and my curiosity take over. Those memories stir my imagination.
What do you think? Does it take boldness to be creative? Do you have any brave or bold moments that have sparked creative endeavors?

Here’s a short video clip of the manta ray snorkel (same as I've shown before):

Go out and try something new, and write about it. Or, think of a bold experience you've had and write about it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Awaken to the Awesome, Astonishing, Audacious and Absurd

A to Z Challenge
Theme: Creativity Toolbox
A: Awaken to the Awesome, Astonishing, Amazing, Audacious and Absurd

To be creative, I think we need to awaken to the awesome, astonishing, amazing, sometimes audacious and absurd world around us.

Ever take a moment to just sit, listen, look, smell, feel, and taste the moment?

 Ever heard a conversation that just struck you as astonishing, amazing, audacious, or absurd?

Recently, I overheard a family discussing their annual mystery meat dinners. They’ve actually eaten python, kangaroo, alligator and other strange meats. Caught listening in, I had the opportunity to ask just where they found these exotic foods. I might have missed that moment if I hadn’t adopted a determination to be awake to the world around me. I admit I was appalled by some of the mystery meat, but the conversation gave me a creative spark. 

Are you awake to the awesomeness, absurdity, or audaciousness of the world around you?

Three Banded Armadillo -  awesome creatures. They look absurd, but they really are amazing. And no, I wouldn't eat one.

Awaken to the Awesomeness, absurdity and audaciousness Writing Exercise: Listen in on a conversation and write about it or take notice of something awesome, absurd, or audacious in the world and write about it.  Have fun!

Scripture Verse for Awesomeness: "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth." Psalm 47:2