Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Clearing My Head

Sometimes there is so much going on in my brain, or sometimes nothing, which is not good when I need it to have something. During those time I just need to clear my head.

As a writer, I'm often faced with a blank page...that blinking cursor. And there are times it's fantastic. That cursor moves like you wouldn't believe. I make so many typing mistakes because my fingers are moving so fast getting the story out of my head before it disappears, lost in the sea of things floating around in there.

But there are those other times where the blinking cursor is a curse. I don't know what to do next. I don't know where I need to take my characters. Sometimes it's during the creating phase. I have reformed and am now a plotter, but even though I have the entire book planned, it's sometimes difficult to bridge together the scenes I've thought up. Or during the editing phase, when I know I need to fix something, but the solution is just not coming to me.

I need a brain break. And it's not uncommon for me to take several in a day's time. Just short little vacations where my brain can rest and do absolutely nothing worthwhile. And brain takes it's vacations in Twitterland, Facebookville, and Pinterest City.

I know many people consider these social media sites a complete waste of time. I don't, for many reasons, but I won't go into them all today. Today I am focusing on the break they give my brain. I can go on Twitter and have a laugh, see what my writer buddies are doing, promo myself, help promo a friend. I only stay a minute or two. Then I hop over to Facebook, see what my family and friends are up to today. Stay there a couple minutes. Then maybe some Pinterest for yummy meal ideas or crafts.

My brain takes maybe a 5 minute break and is ready to get back at it. Stepping away form my work, even for a few minutes, can often give me new perspective. It really helps!

Do you take mini breaks while you're writing, or doing whatever job you do? Does it help clear your mind and make you more productive? What do you do on your mini breaks?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Friendships and how they change over time

Been thinking about this post for some time now.

I have a great group of girlfriends. We do a lot together, just us girls, and also with our families. Some of them I've known since high school, others I met through one of those friends. One's even my cousin. We've all managed to do something many other women only dream of- we've stayed close for many many years.

Which is not to say there are never problems, but things get worked out. I try my best to work things out because I don't want to lose the friendships. I want to be 80 and linked arm in arm with my girlfriends, still doing the things we do now, still laughing our asses off, still being there for one another through bad times.

But I truly believe friendships change and evolve over the years. People change and evolve. None of the relationships I have with any of them are the same as what they were 10 years ago.

The older I get the more I understand that everyone needs to do what's best for them no matter what others think or say. People will judge no matter what you do, so you can only make yourself happy. I try not to be judgmental and always give the benefit of the doubt, though I am human and, therefore, not perfect. But I try and I think I am far better than I was even a few years ago.

I've been thinking a lot lately about friends who change. It may be for the better for them, and they are happy, but their changes sometimes change the bond you had. Common ground is gone. Opinions and feelings are different. It's sometimes hard to connect with someone who has changed their thoughts and beliefs. I don't look down on them for the changes they've made, especially if they are happy, but it does leave me feeling as if the friendship is not the same as it was. There is distance. It leaves me in a weird position. But I think it's completely natural to be closer to some people for a length of time, and then migrate toward others as our lives change.

Another thing I've learned over these years is the better you get to know others, the better a friend you can be to them. Everyone is different. Everyone has their own thoughts and beliefs and it's great when you agree with people. But learning about people and how they deal with life, which is different than how other people, and you, deal with the same situation, allows you to be a better friend.

Just like marriage, friendships take work. Nothing worth having comes effortlessly. And bailing when things get tough is not the way to hold on to the things that matter.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Learn from the best!

In my opinion, one can never ever know all there is to know about any topic. But there will always be someone who knows more, or knows something different. There is always learning to be done. Things constantly change and evolve and no one can ever be all-knowing about anything.

And this is a great thing :)

When I started writing, just like starting anything else, I knew very little. I did what I could on my own, what my instincts told me, and then went to my number one resource for learning anything and everything these days: the internet! I learned a lot and soaked it up. But there was a lot of conflicting info out there. And that's bound to happen with anything. But then I started meeting people....other writers in the same boat as I was. We learned together, shared information, figured some things out together. We took the resources available to us from reliable sources who'd been where we were and were nice enough to share what they'd learned.

And then I came to a point where I could start helping others who were not as far along in the journey as I was. And that felt great! I knew I was no where near a point of knowing everything, but I could help. I could share what I had learned along the way. Point someone else in the direction they needed to go.

I'm in a great place these days, but I still need to learn more. I still turn to those farther along than me. I turn to the best! There are so many wonderful authors out there who seem to have it all going on. I read their books, study their methods, learn what I need to do next. Keep moving forward.

I know I'll never know everything and that's okay. But there will always be people ahead of me to learn from. I only hope they know how thankful I am they are there to guide me. And I hope to be a good role model for those not yet in the place I am :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Life: Pre and Post Parenthood :)

Sometimes I sit here and think of how EASY life was before we had kids. We went where we wanted, when we wanted. We saw every new movie, we hung out with our friends every weekend. On our days off we did absolutely nothing if we wanted...just sat and watched TV...the shows WE wanted to watch. The house was clean 95% of the time.

Every decision we made we only had ourselves to think about. I was just talking with a friend today about the things we used to buy pre-children. We were talking about furniture. When hubby and I got married way back in 1998, we bought these awesome cream couches with a coordinating accent chair. To go with them, wrought iron glass topped tables. Not the ones where the glass is encased in wood. These were just a piece of glass laid over the wrought iron, some little rubber things to keep it from moving around. They were so cool. So chic.

And then we got a dog, who slobbered on the tables constantly. And put his dirty paws on the furniture. And then we had a kid, who spilled things on the couch and we had to get rid of the glass so she wouldn't fall on it and slash her head open. We were pretty darn crafty though and after taking the glass off, attached foam-covered plywood and covered it with fabric for a DIY ottoman.

A few years later we moved and had a second kid. We were FAR smarter with our furniture purchases this time around- dark brown micro fiber couches and chair and a matching ottoman :) I love that furniture, and for more than just the fact that it is easy to clean and no one will die if they fall on it. It's way comfy!

Now this post may be read by non-parents and they may say, "That's why I'm not having kids!" Yeah, it is a major lifestyle change, and not all of it is pleasant. There's lots that is unpleasant. But my kids are the light of my life. They have improved my life in so many ways. We may not be able to hang out and drink every Saturday night with our friends anymore, but we can go to bounce houses and jump around and not look like pedophiles! We get to enjoy so much in life through the eyes of our children, things we would never do as adults, simply because we just wouldn't think of them. The zoo, the children's museum, pumpkin picking, holiday festivals to see Santa, the circus, Disney movies, Disney on Ice! And yes...I'm gonna say it: Chuck E. Cheese. We have just as much fun as the kids! I swear, my husband won them a solid 500 tickets on the basketball game last time! Life as a parent is hard, but it's so great too!

And when times get really rough, I think about when it was just me and hubby. And I know we'll get back to that. It's a few years away, but little by little, it's coming. Our son is in preschool now, so on days when hubby is off from work mid week-which is often-guess what?? Date for me and him! But I won't wish away this time. The kids are only little once. We try to enjoy every phase as much as we can. Take full advantage of it all.