Saturday, March 18, 2017

Worry Dolls and Sleepy Inspirations

Or...How to Use Worry Dolls to Keep Those Late Night Ideas Until Morning.

This last Christmas my husband bought me a set of six Worry Dolls. He got them from a store here in Edmonton called Ascendant Books. (I LOVE that store.) It's a place where you can get your tarot cards or your palm read. You can buy crystals, sage, yoga tapes, incense, fairy houses and paraphernalia, and of course BOOKS. Books on anything and everything metaphysical. The store has a fantastic vibe, kinda magical.

That's where he bought the Worry Dolls. Use these little treasures at bedtime. You tell a worry doll what's keeping you up at night. Tell one doll about how you're stressed about bills. Tell another you're worried about your friend who's having surgery. Tell another that the job interview tomorrow has you nervous--anything that might keep you awake.

The idea is that THEY do the worrying FOR you. I find it helps. When the things that bother me sneak into my brain, I remind myself that the dolls are keeping my problems. They aren't mine for the night. It's physiological, and you have to let it work.

Here's how I use them for writing ideas:

Every writer has experienced that flood of inspiration that happens just as we're dropping off. You're half asleep, and a really cool thought hits you--something that might make a great story idea. How badly do you need sleep? Do you get up, turn the light on and write it down? Or do you drift off and hope it's still there in the morning?

Most writers choose the former, and they keep pen and paper on the nightstand for just such an occurrence. That means waking your spouse to turn the light on, or maybe you get out of bed and leave the room. You force your eyes to adjust, writing blearily and hoping the resulting plot bunny doesn't hop all over your brain for a few hours more. You hope you'll sleep.

This happened to me two weeks ago. I don't remember what triggered it, but a concept shouted at me. I also had to work early. I grabbed a worry doll from my nightstand without turning on the lamp. I whispered my idea to her. I even gave her keywords. Medieval England. Papal Indulgences. Her True Name:Volume unknown. Then I tucked her under my pillow, and went to sleep.

The next day, I readied myself for work. The day was uneventful. I came home, and changed into my pajamas, remembering I had worry dolls under my pillow. When I saw the third one, I remembered my thought, and ran to my journal to get it down. It stuck!

Guess what? I have a book idea. I think it might even be my next novel. I'm not saying it will work as a novel. And I'm not saying this method will work for everyone. I'm saying give it a shot.

t doesn't even have to be a doll. It can be anything, can't it? If you whisper your idea to your spare bookmark or a hair brush and find it under your pillow the next day, you'll probably find the trigger again anyway. Mostly because you'll wonder why you put it there, right? (Hey you remember that thing I told you about historical corruption and how a certain god-figure did the thing I want to write about?) Try it. See what happens. Best of luck!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fighting the Block by Being Kinder to Myself

"A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind."
I'm not washing my walls this spring. That's right, I said I'm NOT. Sure I'll still clean my fridge and stove, wash all the linens and dust the hell out of everything, but I'm not washing the walls. I'm taking a load off my plate, since I'm the one who put it there to begin with.

I'm feeling tired. I'm currently editing two books and working full time. It bothers me to admit that it's causing mild Writer's Block.

I hesitate to call it true Writer's Block. What it actually is, is the lack of time or energy to do research and find a useable plot for ancient East Indian humans. When I come home from work, I worry about all the other things I have to get done and stress out because I don't have the energy to do them.

This is how we fight this kind of Writer's Block.

1. We Relax-- Nothing strengthens a bout of Writer's Block like tension. Think Chinese finger trap. The more you worry about it, the tighter the trap.

2. We trust ourselves and our imaginations--This isn't just for writers. You can't force ideas, but ideas flow when you just let your mind be free to wander outside your day to day life. Inspiration can be found anywhere, and it will find you again when the time is right. No need to push.

3. If there's too much crowding the mind, remove a few things--Like the self-imposed obligations of a sparkling clean house and a massive garden I can't actually take care of. I'm a writer. I have no social life. No one comes to my house anyway! Who am I trying to impress?

4. Cut yourself some slack--I just finished two novels, and I'm in the process of editing and improving upon them. That's plenty right there. Maybe now isn't the time to start something new. Maybe right now, it's time to...

5. Find inspiration anywhere and everywhere-- You know what happens when you have your husband's longtime-friend-he-hasn't-seen-in-ages over for dinner? And he's a history freak? You learn things you can use to make the novel you're editing right now into something more interesting, with more depth.

Don't worry, I'm not worried. Just writing this blog proves to me I still have creativity flowing--just not in the direction of something new. It'll come. And when it does, there will be new books to write:) You don't need to wish me luck this time. I won't need it.

Author's Note: I actually wrote this blog three days ago. I practiced what I preach, and today I found a brand new book idea. Now I have to get off social media to write up an outline.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Congratulations to my winners!

Cover by Terra Weston
It's March first, 2017 and it's time to announce my contest winners. I would like to that everyone for participating, mostly on Facebook and Twitter. A few of you also used Pinterest and their own blogs, and I loved that. Thank you <3

First place winner of signed copies of Chasing Monsters and Her True Name Volume One and an Aphrodite's War notebook: Jody Haynes!!

Second place winner of signed copies of Chasing Monsters and Her True Name Volume One: Meghan McKenzie!!

Third place winner of a signed copy of Chasing Monsters: Michelle Ashley Gordon!!

Thankfully all three of you are easy to contact through Facebook. Thanks for all the shares, ladies <3 Again, thanks to everyone who entered. It did my heart good to see the response. I hope my winners enjoy the novels.
Cover by: Anima Black