Finding the Inspiration

It’s another year of NaNoWriMo, and as usual I’m flipping up and down with both motivation and inspiration.

I had a great weekend marathon-ing with one of my writing groups. I drank plenty of coffee, brought out my favorite soundtracks (The Hobbit), and not only caught up on my word count but got a couple days ahead.

Fast forward a couple days later and I’ve slowed down again. Today, I’m currently sitting right on par, though I hope to get another couple thousand words done in short spurts throughout the day (yes, that’s often how I get my writing done).

As for the motivation problem, I’ve had to bribe myself again. This year, I’ve decided that if I win NaNo, I get to buy myself a three month subscription to a book box of my choice. I’m already excited, which means I better keep my fingers moving or no books for me! How is your NaNo writing going?

JEH

A Little Fall Escape

Last week I had the opportunity to enjoy a couple days on the coast. I love the Pacific Coast of Canada, specifically, Vancouver Island. So much so that this was where I set the entire Black Depths Series, beginning with Sea-Witch. Below are a few photos from my trip. I had a great time trying out new cafes, watching the salmon run, and absorbing the cold wet mist on the beaches. I also got a bit of reading and writing done, which made for a super busy couple of days.

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I’m hoping so much that I can get back out to the Pacific Coast next summer. Two days was barely enough time to satisfy my craving for this place. For now, it is back to blowing snow. Have you been anywhere nice lately?

JEH

Reading For Christmas

So here’s the thing: every year I ask for books at Christmas. I love books, to me, there is no better present. Only, when I was recently counting the books on my ‘To Be Read’ shelf, I realized I had 67 books stacked up. 67! According to Goodreads, I’m currently on book 39, which I will finish today or tomorrow, along with book 40, which is my Short Story Advent Calendar (one story a day up until Christmas). This means, that to get through my entire ‘To Be Read’ shelf next year, I’m going to have to up my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 70 Books. That’s almost double what I did in 2016. But that’s okay. I can do it. I just need to read more, and I love reading. This also means I get to spend  more time wearing my Christmas socks, which I love. I love them so much I wish it was acceptable to wear them out in public.

My favorite Christmas mug was broken last week, so I’m currently on the hunt for a replacement. Meanwhile, I’m drinking all my coffee with whipped cream, as the Christmas season calls for. Today is my last day at the office until next Wednesday, so I’m hoping for more than a few quiet moments where I can knock off a few books from my list of 67. Maybe if I only have 65 on my list by January 1st things will seem less daunting in the new year.

So, here’s to Happy Holidays, whipped cream, and cats in trees.

JEH

The 10 Best Self-Indulgences for Writers

If you’re anything like me, there’s no way you can not buy yourself anything at Christmas time. Especially if you’re spending a lot of time in the book store shopping for other people. I always keep a list on my phone, or really, a roll of pictures of the books I want to read ASAP, but sometimes there’s a book or something else that just jumps out at me and I have to get it NOW. Though I do try to resist, especially if I’m still hoping my husband will buy me something on my list, sometimes I give in. Either way, here are some of the things I will be indulging myself with this holiday season (or shortly after when the sales come in January). When it comes to self-indulgence, these are the things I love

    1. Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate (I could say that way more than three times). I’ll admit, it is one of my favorite reading snacks. I keep a bar in the nightstand just for the purpose of having some chocolate to eat during my afternoon reading session. I don’t eat it every day, but when I do, it’s good, high quality chocolate. Godiva is one of my favorites.
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2. Pretty, Pretty, Classics. I have a weakness for pretty books. Especially if it is a beautiful copy of a book I already own, for instance. I may own more than one copy of Pride and Prejudice. That may be more than I need (seeing as I only need one). But sometimes the books are just so darn pretty I can resist.

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3. Seven Year Pens. I also may own more than one Seven Year Pen. Maybe because the ink is supposed to be able to last for seven years. Maybe because of the cool colours and awesome designs. Or maybe because I’m just the type to indulge. And hey, a writer always needs a pen, because what if your phone dies? or your laptop? and all you are left to work with is – GASP – pen and paper???

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4. Notebooks. I’ve said it many, many times, but I just can’t resist notebooks.

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5. Smelly markers. This is a new one for me. Or maybe a really old one, since as a child I loved the markers that smelled like cherries or blueberries or what not. But nowadays the scents are much more diverse, and you can find markers like roasted marshmallow, tropical punch, and coffee, to name a few.

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6. Coffee. Sometimes, all that keeps me alive is coffee. Okay. Maybe I need food too, but Coffee is my creative life’s blood. There is rich dark roast, light acidic coffee, and of course, Tassimo. I’m one of those people in a love/hate relationship with Tassimo – I love the ease of use but hate the waste. I also have a French Press (which I use ever so rarely). As, even though I’m loath to admit, I’ve been brewing a T-Disc daily. French Vanilla is my favorite.

 

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7. Vacations. There is nothing I like more than a trip. Not only does it bring fresh inspiration and a break from the everyday, but it usually means I’m not working and therefor have more time to do my chosen work (see #10). This winter I’ll be heading down to Mexico, but earlier this year I made my escape out to Vancouver, where I spent a good chunk of time drafting Twisted Currents, some of which takes place in this fantastic coastal city.

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8. Great, Inspiring Movies. Sometimes, reading a great book just isn’t enough, or I need a change of pace. Sometimes a movie is more inspiring than reading a book (though rarely if it has been based on a book), and it is finished a lot more quickly. Because it’s not reading, watching a movie is an indulgence. Often, I don’t let myself watch a thing unless I’ve finished my daily word count. So when it comes to a treat, movies are at the top of my list. A favorite choice of mine is Star Wars. In fact, I’m going to see Rogue One this coming Monday, and I can’t wait.

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9. A new laptop. Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret. I own three laptops. Yes, three. And a table with a keyboard. Two of them are old, i will admit. But they still work. I didn’t have to replace them. But I did. Currently, I do the majority of my work on a MacBook Air. It is light and portable and a beautiful shiney silver. Still, it is getting a bit aged, maybe I should see what else is out there….

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10. Time. This is the one thing that I really need more off, and it’s probably the cheapest thing to buy. I buy myself time all the time, by refusing the clean the house, by cutting back on sleep, consuming more coffee, and ignoring the television. When there is a writing project I want to get done, the only thing I need is time (well, I suppose I need my laptop, too). So, if you have time to spare this Christmas, be sure to send some my way. It will be greatly appreciated.

JEH

How To Write Like A Caffeine Fueled Jackrabbit Without Losing Your Mind

In my previous post, I described my September New Year goal of writing 365,000 words in a year (or 4-6 books). I’m going to accomplish this goal by writing 1,000 words of fiction a day (no, these blog posts do not count), which will take me approximately 30 minutes a day (excepting those days which I struggle and must wrestle with the mud covered monster called Writer’s Block). As I’m sure I will have some days where writing 1,000 words will feel impossible, I will need days when I can pound out 5K or even 10K (the 10K is likely to be saved for vacation or my favourite month, NaNoWriMo (also known as November)).

So, on those days when you really need to write 10K words—or for the entire month of NaNoWriMo—here are some tips to fuel my creativity, increase my word count, and Write Like A Caffeine Fueled JackRabbit Without Losing My Mind:

  1. Find a really comfortable chair (I do mean chair, not upright bed, there is a difference).
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Be Careful, This Chair is as Cozy as it Looks

2. Decide upon your drink of choice and keep it near by. I find a slightly caffainated tea works the best, since it doesn’t cause my hands to shake when I drink it pot after pot.

3. Write the first sentence of 8-10 scenes you want to finish that day.

4. Buy an amazingly cute kitchen timer that you can’t resist playing with. Set it for 5, 10, or 30 minutes, and do nothing else until it buzzes.

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5. Pick your favorite motivational song, when you start dropping off, play it loudly, dance about for five minutes, and envision yourself hiking to the top of that insurmountable mountain of 10 thousand words (it only FEELS insurmountable).

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6. When your self-doubt success sucker shows up, close your eyes tight and say “I CAN DO THIS” five times loudly. Soon, you will see that Self-Doubt Success Sucker pushed right back into the ground (inevitably, he will pop up again, so be sure to repeat this step whenever necessary).

7. Keep easy to fix food nearby for a quick fuel-up.

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8. Find a buddy to check in with, be it a fellow writer, a friend, the NaNoWriMo Forums or the Twitter Universe. Be accountable to someone.

9. Think about the worst job you’ve ever had, picture yourself going back there. If that isn’t motivation to finish doing something you love, I don’t what is.

10. Pick a reward for when you reach your goal, and don’t allow yourself to have/do it until you’ve accomplished what you need to. Whether it’s a new journal, a pretty photo from Stockphoto that you want to use for your cover art, going for a run or out for a drink, hold off until you’ve accomplished your “work” for the day.

Need a Relaxation Device for your Office? Reward yourself once you’ve finished your goal. (associate link)

11. Once you reach your goal, stop. Everyone deserves a break. Especially you. By getting some rest in between mad-dash sessions, you’re much more likely to do it again the next day.

Good luck with your writing goals! Whether it be the next book in your fabulous serious or 2016 NaNoWriMo. Do you have any other tips you would like to share?

JEH