Posts Tagged ‘life.’

Where do your ideas come from? Five Ways to Stay Creative

People often ask me where my ideas come from. The short answer is everywhere. I am constantly bombarded with ideas from half heard phrases or stories in the news or silly things that I see. Once one lets the creativity flow, creativty doesn’t like to stop. However that doesn’t tell you how I got there. So here are Five Ways to Get and Stay Creative

1) Don’t be afraid to be a Beginner.
Adults often feel they need to be good at something immediately. When I went to a critique group, I’ve seen many first drafts of first books that suck. Sorry, but that’s the way it is. People get good at something with practice. To be a writer, you need to write. To be a painter, you need to paint. If your first attempts aren’t perfect, keep striving. You will get better.


I hike with my pups to stay in shape and to relieve stress.

2) Keep your eyes on the process.
Organization helps on a long project such as a novel, a comic book series, or a series of paintings. Having a list, or even a loose outline, of each step can really make the difference between continuing on when it stops being fun, and stopping.

3) Exercise.
Being creative can be painful at times. Creative people open themselves and their work to the world. We want to support each other, yet work in a highly competitive field. Most of us make very little money, but we love it so we do it anyway. So if you are stuck, take a walk. Take care of yourself.

4) Experiment.
If you are stuck, try something new! In my latest project, I wrote a scene by scene outline between draft 2 and 3. Why? Because I could see a few minor points were missing and I needed to find them. Guess what? It worked.

In The Light Side of the Moon, the book began going slow. I needed to mix it  up. I wrote this crazy scene with the protagonist—which I don’t want to talk about since the book is in editing now— but that change is in the manuscript I sent my publisher. Every project has had surprises. Embrace them.

Cover Illustration for First Contact which you can read on Wattpad. It was written as an experiment and trying out Wattled was an experiment too.

Cover Illustration for First Contact which you can read on Wattpad. This short story was written as an experiment and trying it out Wattled was an experiment too.

5) Surround yourself with creative people within your field.
Attend conferences, book store and library events. Join a writing group. Find people to support you with friendship. It’s also important to point out, writers have writer friends so we don’t drive our non-writer friends crazy.

If you can’t find folks in real life, then write a blog. Join Twitter. Join an online group.

 What do you do to stay creative?

Yesterday a man was shot over $2.50 USD and I was annoyed about traffic.

Dennis was running late yesterday, so I drove him to work. We got stuck in traffic on Pine Street. It’s often a bit crowded around 9:30, but it was solid traffic. We saw a valet parking attendant actually stood in traffic so a driver could pull out of his lot.

I was slightly irritated.  I think Dennis was too when he said,  “I’m just going to walk the rest of the way.”

I said okay and he hopped out of the car. I turned up 6th avenue then onto Pike so I could get out of downtown the quickest way possible. By the time I got home, Dennis discovered what happened and I got a text.

A bus driver was shot.

Here is the basics of what happened from the Seattle Times

“Three people used a rear door to board the bus, including a man in a hooded, dark-colored sweatshirt.

The driver asked the three to pay their fares, and two complied. But the man in the sweatshirt paced back and forth inside the bus, then physically attacked the 64-year-old driver.”

the rest of the article is here.

A single zone bus fare at Peak Hours is: $2.50.

Thankfully driver is okay, he is at the hospital. Other people had injuries due to the escape and subsequent chasing down of the man who was shot by the police and died at the hospital. We will never know why the assailant went ballistic. From the article, he suffered from mental health issues.

I know this was an isolated incident. I know that Dennis would not have been on that bus because it was the 27 southbound (Dennis might have been on the 27 northbound which makes it feel somewhat close to home.)

We live in a city with over a million people. It is amazing that Seattle is as safe as it is.  More importantly when life’s little irritations get me angry, I hope I’ll remember that I don’t know what happened three blocks away.  My tiny inconvenience is not comparable to what happened.

My thoughts go out to anyone who was injured, the police officers and to the driver of the bus and the driver’s family.

No, I am not unemployed, I was touched by the novel fairy!

The other day, I finished walking the dogs at the arboretum and went to one of my favorite coffee places to grab some breakfast. I go in all the time between 10 and 11. I dress in jeans and a t-shirt. My hair is in a ponytail which I admit is undoubtedly loosened by the wind, but this is Seattle after all. Everyone wears causal dress.


They look cute and cuddly, but really they’re scheming ways to get a bit of my breakfast.

Rosie and Tycho are outside waiting in the car, mournfully staring though the window. They hope I’ll come out soon and that when I do I will give them a taste of whatever I bought.  (Not the espresso–no one wants to see them on espreso–but my breakfast) So I order my croissant and latte. As the barista is pressing my shot, she asks any plans for today. I say something about just walking my dogs at the arboretum and now I am on my way home to work. She says, “Job search?” My first thought is if I didn’t have a job, I wouldn’t have just spent money on breakfast out. “No, I am an author.” I went from impoverished to impressive in a blink of an eye. Did she think I said I was a mystical unicorn? “Wow, you mean you’ve been published?” she asked. “Yes.” I mentioned Other Systems. Then spoke about the other  some science fiction short stories published and self published some comics. Then we talk about her roommate who is an aspiring author. She wanted some advice for him. We write completely different genres. She didn’t really care what I wrote about only that I was an author. As an author, I am automatically: gifted, talented, lucky, articulate, MegaRICH, connected! Most importantly, I was a person who has been blessed by the novel fairy. I handed her a bookmark and told her if her roommate had questions he could always contact me though my book’s website. Wait…you havn’t heard of the novel fairy?
The novel fairy is kind of like the tooth fairy, but  more capacious. She leaves inspiration under the pillow. Sometimes if you were a really good boy or girl, the novel fairy actually leaves a manuscript with a favorable publishing contract attached. I tried to tell the barista my first novel wasn’t published and Other Systems was published by a small press. She did not want to hear it. She certainly didn’t want to hear that I worked fifty hour work weeks. Sadly, hardwork and struggle are not impressive. She would have been disappointed to know I live a comfortable middle class lifestyle is primarily due to my husband’s job. She would have been really disappointed to see my closet/office. She only saw that I was blessed by the novel fairy. I think some people write or want to be an author because they believe it is an easy way to wealth and fame. I wonder how quickly that idea shatters as soon as they realize it is actual work. A while back, Kristen Lamb talked about self discipline on her blog and honestly that’s what got me thinking about this. It is a pet peeve of mine when I hear successful authors say in interviews, “I never set out to be an author…” Ummm. I’m calling BS. “One day, I thought it might be fun…and before I knew it I pooped out a novel. Tee hee…” I’m calling Double BS on that one. Maybe when someone begins writing–it was just a lark, a way to express emotions, or [fill in the blank], however, one day that changed. One day, it became work and the author had to decide to keep going. We sacrifice hobbies, time with friends, a clean house, and sleep to writing a novel. More than that, writing the first draft is not the only piece. Then we rewrite. Then editing. Then another rewrite. More editing. Whether a book is self published, published by a small or traditional press, the author most definitely wanted to be an author at that point. Books don’t magically get published. Books don’t magically get promoted either. It’s a lot of work to bring a book to market. It is a beautiful thing to see a project come to fruition, however it is a lot of hard work. All I can assume is this is an unpopular message, because the myth of the novel fairy is perpetuated. What are some of your favorite or least favorite myths of being an author?

Floodpocolyse Repairs are over!

I have a clean house again. I discovered how uncreative I can be when my house is in disarray. I could not get my brain in order. I wasn’t able to get out more than maybe 100 words a day. My mind was simply busy trying to keep things in order when my house looked like an episode of Hoarders. 

We had people in and out for three weeks. Dennis took some time off, Tycho licked himself until he got a wound. It was really stressful.

Not only was I having trouble drawing and writing, I couldn’t even bake. I screwed up a batch of lemon bars then oatmeal butterscotch cookies. Now most people would say “oh these are okay.” But they were not. There was something wrong about them. The lemon was bitter not tangy and the oatmeal cookies ended up too dry. I certainly wasn’t going to give them to the fine people at Rainbow as a special treat. 

So now the house is clean, not only was I able to re-edit a chapter in the Martlet, and do my Christmas Cards.  I also made vanilla walnut truffles and shortbread thumb prints with strawberry jam. 

I am so thankful that  it was really a three week inconvenience rather than any sort of real tragedy.  I am also thankful for all the nice emails and messages on FB and the blog people left. I really appreciate the support. Thanks!

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