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June 2016

Why I Write

Every writer is asked this about 5 times a day or more. “Why do you write?” The main reason we’re asked this is not because other random people ask it, but because other writers ask it all the time. It’s like this obsession with them to ask writers, especially at workshops, and while I can sorta see a reason for it, I don’t. Especially not that much.

So why do I write? Originally I wrote because I wanted to. Because I felt like I needed to. Then, I wrote to escape, to form the story that I was missing out of life whether because the library had run out of books, or the TV had run out of shows. But then, I wrote because I felt obligated, because it was expected of me. For example, just last week a boy came up to me and told me how he finished book 2 and wanted to make sure I was writing book 3. I told him that yes there would be a book 3. He jerked his elbow down with a, “Yes!” and skated off. While that feeling is wonderful, it makes for bad writing.

As any artist will tell you, creativity is not something that can be rushed and especially not forced. Thankfully, however, the past few days have taught me a better inspiration to write than simply feeling “expected to”.

I have to. That may sound cliche, and it is…but it isn’t. See, as most of you are aware by now, I’m going back to school. I drive an hour every morning and afternoon Monday through Friday to take a class. I then come home and study. I haven’t had much time for my writing, and what little time I have had for it has been spent on the “office” side of it—gathering reviews, social media, mailing out things, ordering things, etc.

This is the forth week I’ve been in school. I was supposed to have the rough draft of Anya 3 ready by now. I have a mere 35,000 words. The longer I stay away from it, the longer it takes me to get back into it. It was depressing. I thought, “Is this it? Should I just take the summer off?” Every writer goes through a stage like that. It’s nothing new and not what this post is about, but I say it to make a point. I was in a bad place, especially for someone who felt like writing was an obligation, not a desire.

But then I noticed that I was writing anyway. Any time I could. I recorded storyline on my phone on the drive. I plotted before, during, and after class. Maybe it was Anya 3, maybe it was something else, but I couldn’t help myself. It was an uncontrollable urge to create. (notice how many times I’ve blogged over the last week versus the last month.)

I’ve noticed this before about myself. My whole life has been about creating. Most of it was through music, but when that was no longer a viable option, I turned to other outlets. Knitting, quilting, tatting, clothesmaking, basketweaving, cheesemaking, cooking, odd gardening, you name it, I tried it. But then I picked up writing once again. I immediately dropped all other outlets. Two year old projects now lie all over the house, making it look like a crafting fair graveyard, but my keyboard remains used on an almost daily basis.

See, I have creative energy, and just like my physical energy requires me to exercise periodically to keep from going crazy, my creative energy requires an outlet too. So yes, I write because I have to. My body requires a creative outlet, and I have given it one.

My Recent Diet

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for your actions or your body. What you choose to do to yourself is between you and your doctor. I do not recommend you do anything I am listing below.

Now—

I tried off and on for a good two years I’d say. Had to be two years. Anywho, I tried off and on for about two years to lose weight. Nope, nada. Finally, like so many others, I gave up. But earlier this year, my doctor got my thyroid levels normal. I also have to tak vitamin D and iron pills. Vitamin D deficiency can cause weight gain. Thyroid trouble can cause weight gain. I had both.

I got up to around 180. I think the last time I weighed myself, it was 178. Couldn’t really stomach doing it again after that. But then Doc said my levels were good. My thyroid was back to normal. So, I gave it one more go, and this time, I wasn’t holding any punches. Here are the steps I used. I recommend one week per step (again, disclaimer, I don”t recommend this to anyone.)

  1. No sweets. This includes alcohol. If you drink, you might want to add an extra step before eliminating sweets altogether and just eliminate alcohol. This also includes soft drinks. If you drink a lot of juice, cokes, kool-aid, etc, you may need to add an extra step for that as well.
  2. Once you’re good with all the previous, start walking. Twenty minutes a day, three days a week. Some people, like myself, do better dieting if they’re exercising. I started walking from day one. You might want to do the same. It’s just walking.
  3. Walk five days a week. You can also start cutting back on your food at this time. If you’re not hungry, you’re not burning more than you’re consuming. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less than you need. Period. Your stomach will shrink. These people that get bypass surgery are doing nothing more than skipping a few days of discomfort. That’s all it takes. My stomach shrank in three days. Yours may take more; it may take less. Once it shrinks. DON’T OVERFILL!!! The last thing you want to do when dieting is get stuffed. Then your stomach will stretch out again, and it’ll be harder to diet.
  4. Up it to thirty minutes.
  5. Add running in three days a week. I recommend my running schedule. To be fair, I skipped most of this. I was able to run a full mile the first time and just kept that. Keep walking T/R
  6. This was the next step for me. After one week of running one mile M/W/F, I upped it to 1.5. I also cut my food back to a small breakfast (two waffles with syrup OR one bowl of cereal OR eggs and turkey bacon or something), no lunch (this was made easier because I started back to school), and a moderate supper.
  7. Up to two miles. I also had to add in one half of a peanut butter sandwich or something similar either earlier or later in order to take pills. Keep walking T/R
  8. At this point, I kept the two miles and added core on T/R. The first week of core was hard. I was only able to do it once and just walked the next time. By the next week, I was able to do it both times

Step 8 is where I am now. I run two miles a day M/W/F and do core T/R. My core exercises are getting better every week, but I’m still not able to do the whole video.

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When it rains, (or I’m sunburned) I do a 30 minute step program. It has intervals of high activity to help that heart rate.

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I know that little link says it’s core strength, but it isn’t. It’s a whole series. You want to click on the one that’s beginner step. Even though it’s beginner and only 30 minutes, it has a higher heart rate than the advanced. If you want longer, I suggest Cathe.

So that’s where I am now. I drink water, chew non-artificially sweetened bubble gum, and stay hungry. But it’s worth it. I’ve already lost eight pounds. Thirty more to go!

If only there were a Napster for ebooks

As a writer myself, I hear a lot of other authors complain about finding their books somewhere for free. Oddly, many of these same authors run specials where their books are given for free in the hopes that they will receive more reviews. But, not all authors, including myself, feel that way.

See, I still remember the days of Napster. I loved Napster! I actually owned most of the CD’s that I downloaded. I just downloaded them so I could listen to them at work. Converting CD’s to mp3’s and mp3 players weren’t quite as common place back then. I found several new bands that I eventually bought the CD’s to. Many of these bands were new artists, and Napster was their ticket to success, literally.

And then Metallica shut them down.

Whoa! Wait! Metallica? You mean that band that refused to record an album because they only wanted to play live and then thanks to bootlegged copies of their concerts became famous and finally appeased the masses with a record? That Metallica? Yes. That Metallica. Kinda hypocritical, don’tcha think? Why yes I do think. Thank you for asking.

Here are some facts, first and foremost.

1-Chances are, the person downloading the free music, book, games, movie, etc wouldn’t have bought it anyway. No one’s actually losing any money in those cases.

2-The person who does get said item can then give a review on it, or tell others about it, or even go out and buy it for themselves. In those cases, artists win!

3-Artists, creators, authors can get discovered! By having a “library” of sorts, people not normally reached can be, increasing exposure and potential sales.

4-Actually, and yes this goes for books too, some of those downloaders already own the book. Maybe they left it at home, and they’re on vacation, and they want to finish it on their kindle. Maybe someone borrowed it and never returned it, or it got stolen from them. Who knows?

Bottom line?

No, I don”t approve of not paying for creative work, but Napster, like many of the places free books can be found today, actually helped more than it hurt. Think about that, authors.

The balancing act of adding something new to your schedule

We’ve all done it. A new job, and new baby. Something BIG to add to your schedule, all at once.

I recently started back to school. I currently go to a campus an hour away every Monday-Friday. Prior to this, I was writing 2000 words a day on book 3 of the Cupolian Series and spending the rest of my time marketing, networking, and working on other books/stories/projects. By five o’clock, I was finally able to spend time with my family and do household chores.

And then…

I went back to school. I am only taking one class, but it’s not an easy one. It’s also crammed into just five weeks. I will continue this type of schedule all summer. I knew it was more important than my writing, and I knew I had to reschedule my life. And I wasn’t looking forward to it. I had finally gotten my writing time, something I had been looking forward to for months, years even, when this came up.

Oddly, it’s working, and here’s my secret. (This applies to adding one big thing to your already busy schedule)

Don’t try to add the one big thing to all the previous little things. Quit the little things. Obviously, if you have daily responsibilities that can NOT go undone, do them. But other things, like my writing, marketing, etc, can wait. I just finished my third week of school, and I’m finally able to add my writing back in a comfortable manner. I have had to give up some of my previous activities, at least with the same intensity as I did them before, but I have been able to juggle them.

This also explains my long absence from blogging – sorry.

But remember, in the future, if you’re adding something big to your schedule all at once, don’t think you can just do that with the rest of the items on your list not moving. They will probably get moved, but it’s a whole lot easier to change a bunch of little things then one big one. And before you know it, hopefully at least, you’ll be able to slowly add some of those items back in until you’re doing more than you ever were before.

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