Monday, January 16, 2017

A writer's year - less clutter

My goal is to post every couple weeks about what my characters have told me lately, how they've taken hold of their story and, well, made it theirs and not mine. A few posts about life, the seasons, and who and what have influenced my writing.

January - Like a lot of people, I see the winter months as a time for nesting, staying home out of the cold weather (most of the time. I mean, what is with Mother Nature this year?!), and prepping for spring. The past couple weeks I've focused on prepping for spring - going through more magazines than I realized I had, going through clothes, the kitchen, my craft supplies, everything I can. Just trying to simplify. It's not easy. I'm the type of person who holds onto things for years and just knows that as soon as I throw something away, I'll need it. Most of the time I don't, of course, and I'm forcing myself to do toss, toss, TOSS, things I haven't used in... well, probably years. I'm asking myself - do I need this or do I want it?, when was the last time I actually used it? and, oddly enough, why the heck do I have two, or more, of these if I haven't used it in so long? Does the darn thing work? All those questions organizing gurus tell you to ask - I'm actually doing it.
So, lots of trips to the apartment complex dumpster.

While the living room and my bedroom are mini unnatural disasters as I continue January's project, things are finally settling down. I hope to have it completed by the end of the month. And yet, I also hope to keep doing it at least a few hours every month. I can already tell the difference in, well, just the clutter. There really is something to the talk about how less stuff and things about makes you feel calmer.

My three cats were entertained as they supervised and in a few instances, knocked over stacks of neat magazine piles I'd made according to subject - health/fitness, food, house, garden, etc. - and then proceeding to stretch out to groom themselves and each other. Totally not helping, and delaying the entire project, but looking so content and adorable it was difficult to get too frustrated. They quite approve of the now empty baskets that previously held the magazines though. New napping spots are always welcome.

I've also been busy writing. The Interstellar Matchmaker series is bubbling along - Bessie's oldest brother Adam, the oldest of the Andersson cousins and Copper Fire's police chief, is next up. And then there's some fire and ice to deal with, and my twist on time travel to finish up the series. The characters in Beloved of the Beast aren't being still either - Unleashed's Wulfgar has a cousin who has three weeks to be wed, but the intended bride's family has secrets. (hint - clues are in Unleashed and the soon-to-be-released Claimed). It's my twist on Red Riding Hood, with Snow White next.

Stay safe and warm during winter storms and may Mother Nature bring us an early warm spring!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

No more negative

There is just too much negativity around us. I don't think I'm the only one stressing, over-stressing to be honest, about things I can do absolutely nothing about. World events, national troubles, etc. We're hammered with them 24/7 in this age of a non-stop news cycle. And it wears us down and exhausts us.

I remember when news was on for thirty minutes, maybe an hour if you add in local stations' contributions, a night. People would watch, tsk, wonder what would or could be done, and then returned to focus on their own lives. There might be great outpouring at noteworthy events - i.e. JFK's assassination (before I was born), the moon landing (I remember that) or other significant happenings. We weren't drowning in continual news, most of it terrible, horrific and tragic.

And then people go around tut-tutting and wondering why we're all so stressed out, trying to drown our sorrows with alcohol or drugs, over-eating, with medical conditions that our grandparents would have shaken their heads in bewilderment about.
Duh. Millions get spent on studies that tell the blazingly obvious.

So, first thing I'm doing is shutting off the news. I know - in this day and age, it'll be nearly impossible to do. But I am going to. I can feel the difference in my mood, the tension in my body, especially my neck and shoulders, and the doctor can certainly tell in my blood pressure.

I figure I'll still know what's going on. I'm not going to go around with earplugs or a blindfold so I'll still pick up on things, but... just imagine. Not being so mentally and emotionally exhausted because I'm so damn wrapped up about things I can do absolutely nothing about. Am I sorry that tragedies happened around the world? Absolutely. But I can't do anything to prevent them.

What I CAN do is focus on my corner of the world. I CAN focus on my mood, my emotions, and my health. I CAN care about the people I come into daily or regular contact with, and pay attention to what they're going through. I CAN do something in my local region to make the world better. Maybe, just maybe, if enough people do that, the positive will spread.
I am going to focus on the positive this year, focus on what I CAN do, and turn it into WILL do and then DID.