Summer Plans (You and Characters)

Summer is here and who doesn’t love sunny days, shorts and ice cream, right? Okay, I know there are some of you ‘crazy’ people out there that do love the cold and snow. I am definitely not one of them. I love being warm, not wearing heavy coats and ice cream on a hot day. Let’s talk about summer plans!

But let’s move on. It’s summer and I bet you have plans, whether it’s a vacation, continuing to work, or spending time with your family.

Summer

Summer is a time of freedom, especially for the younger ones. They look forward to the time away from school, vacations, doing (almost) nothing around the house and just plain having fun.

Beach Time

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I know my children were ecstatic when they worked hard to get their school done early this year. (The benefits of homeschooling!) Though they still have chores, they are glad to have time to be themselves and so am I.

One thing I love to do is watch them as they create, play, or dream of what activities they want to experience next. The imagination and creativity they express is astounding when you allow it to flow. I’ve seen what happens when that is blocked from children and it’s a very sad thing to see. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here for Summer!

Our Summer Plans

One of our ‘traditions‘ and I say traditions because it’s something we do every year in the spring. We create a list of all the things we would like to do or experience this summer as a family. Anything anyone thinks of goes on the list no matter how big or small.

Camping

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

We then spend the summer trying to mark off all the things on that list.

This years list:

  • Visit The Domes
  • Go to the beach
  • Go Camping
  • Visit the Renaissance Faire (We go every year!)
  • Go to a Museum
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go on a picnic
  • Go to an ice cream shop
  • Have root beer floats
  • Play ‘Rainy Day Games’ (We each choose a board game and we play them all)
  • Bird Watching
  • Miniature Golfing
  • Disc golf
  • Bike Ride

We always have a few things that are a bit more expensive and some that may or may not cost anything at all. I’ll create a checklist that is visible to us all and hang it near our calendar. When we complete one of the activities, we check it off and at the end of the summer we look back to see all the things we’ve done as a family.

Writing

I can’t talk about the summer (or anything really) without talking about writing, and although I haven’t been my usual enthusiastic self – writing until my fingers fall off – this summer, I have not given up hope that I will return to that state sometime in the near future.

But to keep with the topic, have you ever thought of what some characters would do if they had a summer vacation? I don’t mean characters who are already on the big screens or whether the story took place in the summer, but if the character actually had a summer vacation from whatever they were doing at that moment, whether it’s a mission, job, career, or whatever. What would they do?

Teamwork

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

What do you think some of your favorite characters would be doing to relax, have fun or just hang for longer than say a weeks time? Yes, anything can happen and we hope it does in the stories we read, but what about outside the story. If the characters were real, what do you honestly think they would be doing with the time off they were given?

Let me know the character(s), book and what you think they would be doing if they had an entire summer to do whatever they thought was fun!

Character/Story Communication

What is Story Communication or even Character communication, you may be asking yourself, well, I’m going to show you what I’ve found, so keep reading.

What is Story Communication?

Story communication is the connection you get from the story itself. The deep level, overall, feeling of completeness once you’ve finished a good story. It’s how the words resinates with you as the reader. Have you ever read a story and when you were finished, you were completely devastated that it was over? Or completely satisfied by the last words finishing the tale? That’s story communication; it’s how the story itself, as a whole resonates with you, the reader, when you throughly absorbed every last part of the story.

Story Communication

Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay

… And Character Communication?

As with story communication, character communication is the connections you have with the characters. When you envision the story unfolding in your mind with the way the characters talk, act, and move throughout the story, it’s the way you feel about the characters within the story. The hatred, yet understanding of the villain; the way you root for the main character and love their love interest as much as they do. It’s the feeling of going on their journey along with them.

That connection is the author communicating with you on such a deep level that you are able to envision yourself within the world they created. You root for or against each character and even relate to those of the secondary ones who pop in every now and then to impart wisdom or provide comic relief.

Why is it Essential?

The most effective way to engage and resonate with your readers is through storytelling. What better way than to create a story so memorable, you create engagement within your readers? That is one of the goals of a writer, to have your readers so enthralled and invested into the characters and story that they want more. If you create a story so engaging, your readers will feel just a strongly as you do about the characters and the story itself.

Engage Your readers

Image by 【中文ID】愚木混株 【ins-ID】cdd20 from Pixabay

When one creates a story from the heart, whether that’s romance, horror, mystery or adventure, your readers have no choice but to love what your write.

Stories are Used To…

As I’ve written in  my post ‘What Is A Story?’ stories are produced by the imagination of the writer for entertainment, encouragement, a way to escape, but also as a way to pass down history, teach morals, create and continue traditions, and more.

Imagination

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

It’s how we got to where we are today. Families tell them when they’re together to remember the good time, or the bad, to reminisce about the battles won and the ones lost. They create memories and that’s the most important part of stories.

Stories as a Tool to Influence

Stories are a great took to influence and encourage others. Writers use their talents to create words and phrases, even situations that encourage, inspire, motivate and help others in any aspect of their lives. It’s a way to let others know that they are not alone, that others have experienced exactly as they have/are experiencing.

Communication

Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

There is no better feeling than knowing someone else has experienced the same problems you have and have survived/overcame those same obstacles. Each one of us is living our own story and as the main character in that story, we are going through our own ups and downs, trials and hurdles, obstacles and triumphs. There are just those times when you need to know there is someone else who’s experienced what you are going through and came out of it stronger from the experience.

When we open up by sharing, it creates a vulnerability that allows for a deeper connection with another and that’s what’s important.

We use stories to inspire, encourage, escape and pleasure. How do you use stories? 

Language

Language

Language is something we take for granted, learning it at a young age and continuing to learn and use as we grow through our lives. We use it daily with so many around us that we don’t really think of what it entails.

But what really is language and why do we need it? Keep reading to find out!

WIKI

  •  A body of words, and set of methods of combining them (called a grammar), understood by a community and used as a form of communication. quotations
  • The ability to communicate using words.
  •  A sublanguage: the slang of a particular community or jargon of a particular specialist field. quotations
  •  The expression of thought (the communication of meaning) in a specified way. quotations
  •  A body of sounds, signs and/or signals by which animals communicate, and by which plants are sometimes also thought to communicate.
  •  A computer language; a machine language.
  •  Manner of expression.
  •  The particular words used in a speech or a passage of text.
  •  Profanity.

 

Dictionary.com

  • A body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition
  • Communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
  • The system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech).
  • Any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
  • Any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.
  • The means of communication used by animals

What Is It and Why We Need It?

Language is an essential system of sounds and characters whether used through gestures, symbols, written or typed words to associate forms and meanings, which are transmitted by the speaker and decoded by the receiver. Depending on which actual language or dialect you communicate in, you are still connecting with others on a deeper level as you grow. It’s our main source of relaying ideas, thoughts, feelings and more as we move throughout life on the journey we’ve chosen.

Language

Image by Taken from Pixabay

Have you ever noticed that language doesn’t discriminate? It may be used to discriminate, to put down, too insult or offend, but it itself does not. You are able to learn any language you wish, you just have to put in the effort to accomplish learning that new language. Language is also used to encourage, lift up, and inspire, which is why this post is being written.

We need language to connect with those near and far, but we also need it to express our thoughts, feelings, imagination and even our identity. Through words and sounds we convey our happiness, our hurt, our imaginations and creations. We impart information, influence others and so much more. It’s really amazing if you think about all that language does.

Types of Language in Writing

Since this is a writing blog, we are going to keep this within that realm. So let’s get to it.

As writers, we find ways to incorporate different types of languages within our writing, it’s how we connect with our readers on a deeper level, to create a specific reaction.

Expository

The use of explanation through writing, providing facts and figures within our writing to tell about a specific topic.

Descriptive

The use of great detail to offer better understanding and imagery of a topic such as characters or settings.

Emotional

The creation of an emotional connection within the reader caused by the events of the story. eg. happiness, anger, fear, excitement, etc.

Intellectual

When one discloses ideas or impressions onto the reader, giving them suggestions as to what’s happening, what’s going to happen or how they should be feeling during a certain section of writing.

Persuasive

Persuasive language is used to convince you, the reader of something. It contains the opinions and biases of the writer to provide justifications and reasons for those thoughts and opinions.

Imaginative

The impressions of visual and possibly auditory affects on the reader as they are reading the work.

Narrative

The telling of a story in words to provide the reader with entertainment.

Aesthetically

To involve the readers senses as to what is beautiful through writing.

Physical

The reactions readers get when they read something that causes a physical reaction, such as goosebumps or shivers. The use of particular words, phrases or impressed images that cause the reader to experience the physical repercussions of the intended sensation.

Transformational

To the reader, the words written affect them so much that it is life changing.

How We Use It

We, as writers, use language to communicate through words, emotions, and imagination. We take those words, twisting and forming them until they create characters, settings, plots, journeys, conflict, relationships and more.

Writing

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Writers use language to communicate with others, too relay our thoughts and feelings. Writers take that language and form new worlds, epic adventures, creepy horrors, romantic relations, action packed fight scenes, sorrowful heartbreak and more.  Language isn’t just words, it’s sounds, images, and the adventures of characters; the ability to create such an experience that the reader will enter our worlds, leaving their reality behind. They forget the issues of their own life and slip away to the created land on the page, losing themselves to the story.

Not only do we use language to communicate with others within the business, we use it to interact with readers; continuing our journey with those we’ve impacted through our words.

 

Business Communication

Business (Writing) Communication

Communication in any situation is important, but since relationships were talked about in a previous post, I’m going to spend some time talking about Business Communication.

So, what is Business Communication?

Business communication is essentially any type of communication you have with anyone else regarding your business, whether it’s marketing, customer relations or interpersonal communication. Anything that provides a way for you to speak to others is included. There are so many ways to communicate with in a business that we’ll only be focusing on how it relates to the writing business. That’s what we’re here for, right, the business of writing?

Business Communication

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

You, as a business owner, have so many people you contact for different services and assistance, it’s no wonder being an author is a hard job. Unless you have some sort of system down for who you’re speaking to and what your talking about at any given moment, things can get hectic and overwhelming very quickly.

Problems with Communication

Even though we have plenty of ways to communicate nowadays, not all of them are as reliable as speaking face to face or over the phone, but we still try to use them. Email, text/messaging, print, and even television and radio have their downsides.

Problems

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Have you ever sent a text or message and the other person thought you were angry at them? Or had a customer look at your ad and wonder what it was that you’re trying to sell/say? There is no way to know the tone or meaning behind the words when you message others. If your not careful, your words can be completely misunderstood and they could interpret them one way when you meant for it to be taken a completely different way.

Once that occurs, you have to spend your time working to rectify the situation and get everything back on track, which could take more time than you have.

How to Fix or Avoid Communication Problems

FIx
Image by Allan Washbrook from Pixabay

In order to avoid issues with misconstrued communication efforts, the best thing to do is probably stick to speaking to everyone on the phone or in person. If you don’t live close, programs like Skype and FaceTime work well to speak with others face to face. That way any questions about the project can be answered right away.

If you prefer contacting through written words, find a program like Trello, Asana, Monday.com, etc that allows you to form teams, assign tasks and communicate with each other as you work through projects. That way you and your team can ask questions, attach samples, and clarify issues all in one place.

Author/Writing Communication

Author Communication

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

As an author and writer, you are communicating with others on a daily basis whether that’s posting to social media, writing stories for your readers, or sending your work to your editor. We as writers, are always communicating and connecting with others and that in itself can be a taunting task.

Readers

Through the writing process, the one person we are trying to reach are our readers. We write for them. (Well, we write for ourselves and for the joy of it, but the readers we gain are the goal) Of course, not everyone is going to love your work, but you will get those that will love your style and work to the point of ordering everything that you produce.

Our stories fill a missing piece within our readers that even they didn’t realize was missing; whether that is a sense of adventure, the need to know love, or even a bit of fright. Our readers hang onto every word as they read waiting to see what happens on the next page. Its the most gratifying and natural ways for writers to speak, through words on a page.

Teams

You as a writer may or may not have a team yet, but once you do things can get much smoother, but that doesn’t mean problems don’t arise. Tools like Trello or Asana are perfect for keeping things organized between the writer and their team members. You can assign them tasks and they can ask questions and check things off right on the apps.

You may also communicate with your team though texts, messages, or others, but keeping to one type (unless it’s an emergency) keeps things flowing nicely. Each person knows what they need to do and they can get it done before the deadline approaches. If you don’t have a system for your team, I suggest you try one of these out for yourself.

Betas/Alphas

Beta and Alpha readers are those that you depend on the most for their honest opinions, but there are those times when they can be too honest, harsh even. It’s a price we pay for writing and something that must be understood as both reader and writer. The writer is trying their best to bring out the best story to the public. In return for receiving an advanced copy of their work, the writer expects honest feedback from the beta.

That doesn’t mean that betas/alphas can totally rip apart the work that writer has spent who knows how much time on or even suggest they change the story completely to suit that particular reader. As betas/alphas, we as writers are only looking for suggestions on making our writing better and enjoyable for others before putting it out into the world. And writers, be clear what you are to expect of your betas/alphas as they read through your work. If you don’t specify what you’re looking for in feedback, you’re going to get everything and anything, which let me tell you can be overwhelming when you finally receive your manuscript back.

So, communication with your betas/alpha on what you are specifically looking for is necessary to keep things running as smooth as possible.

Editors

Here is another, where you need to specify what you’re looking for unless you are hiring them for one specific job, such as line editing. Editors are your last stop before publishing and once they’ve gone through your work, be prepared to revise if necessary. They will let you know what could be done better and inform you of any errors they may catch. So communication between you and your editor is a must.

Agents

Now, I know not everyone has an agent, but if you do, the communication you have between yourself and them is also important. If one of you doesn’t receive the right information, you could end up booking the wrong event or submitting to the wrong publishing house.

There are so many things that could go wrong when you don’t communicate well between you and others. Think about your everyday communications with family and friends. how often is something taken out of context or interpreted wrong? I can’t tell you how many times my sister and I ask if the other is angry because we just didn’t get back to them  soon enough. Things happen, but we don’t want any conflicts between anyone.

Final Thoughts

Though communication is important and can get skewed as we type the wrong words or we didn’t clarify something well enough, there are ways to avoid those problems by keeping communication open and discussing the issues when they arise. You can do your part by clarifying as much as possible before anything can get to that point and keeping everyone on the same page with sites like Trello. They will put that to rest as everyone has their tasks and no one is getting confused as to what they need to do.

That leaves you time to focus on what you need to focus on, communicating the best way you know how… through the words of your stories!

Quality Feature

Quality

What is Quality?

quality-control-1257235_640

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Quality is…. Well, let’s take a look at what the dictionary says.

Dictionary.com

WIKI

  •  Level of excellence.
  •  A property or an attribute that differentiates a thing or person.
  • High social position.
  • The degree to which a man-made object or system is free from bugs and flaws, as opposed to scope of functions or quantity of items.
  • A two-phase liquid–vapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
  • The third step in OPQRST where the responder investigates what the NOI/MOI feels like.
  • To identify quality try asking, “what does it feel like?”.

Or it is the degree in which you view the item in question. It’s your belief and understanding of how acceptable the product, or item you’re creating, purchasing or looking at is.

Identify Quality

Depending on what you’re looking at, what you purchased, or item you’re examining, the aspects of quality could be different. So let’s look at a few things and see what I could find on quality for each of them.

Life

girl-2940655_640

Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

To identify the quality of life you must look at what’s happening in each area of your life. Determine what you want from that area and move forward to decide if the quality is where you would like it to be or if something needs to change to gain the quality you’re looking for.

Health/Well-being

Are you healthy and making good choices, or are you always eating out and sitting on the couch when you get home? Is what you are doing now how you pictured yourself being? What you really want to be doing? Let me tell you there are days I would love to just hang out on the couch, but right now I don’t like the way I look so I work out every day. It’s been 46 days straight, which may not seem like much, but it’s a milestone for me!

Making good decisions is part of daily life and we have to live with those choices we make, whether it’s the decision to exercise or skip that candy bar that’s calling our name at the store check out. Sneaky store marketing, putting candy right where you have to wait to purchase your items. It’s just screaming for your to purchase it!

Anyway, keeping healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Do what you feel is right and what makes you happy, just don’t over due it. I have actually started putting my candies in their serving sizes and have gotten down to having a serving every few days when I would have eaten a 16oz bag of dark chocolate covered peanuts in one sitting. Now I can’t believe I ever did that.

Satisfaction

As with health and fitness, you need to decide if what you are doing right now with your life is satisfying. If it’s not, you may want to re-evaluate what you are doing and what you could be doing.

People always tell you to do what you love and sometimes what you love is just out of reach or put on the back burner. Fortunately, I am doing what I love, but if you are not, I urge you to got after it. Now, I am in no way telling you to quit your job or anything. I’m just saying it may be it’s time to take that first step toward that goal or thing you’ve always wanted to do. Go ahead, take that first step, you may find the next one isn’t that hard to reach. I did!

Safety & Security

One of the things we as humans want is to be safe and secure in our lives. To be able to do what we desire or what we need without hinderance of anything else getting in the way.

Though things happen that are out of our control, there are things we can do to create a safer and more secure environment. Your life is yours to protect, do what you can to keep it as safe as possible.

Education

Learning is said to happen daily and I completely agree with that. Though you may not realize that you learned anything, I bet if you really think about it, you probably learned something new even if it is small.

Education comes in many forms whether you are going to a school or learning on your own. It’s natural to want to know more about what interests you (or to fix that thing you don’t want to have someone else come to fix. Who doesn’t want to save a few bucks, right?)

Education is a deep part of life as we continue to learn and grow in what we love or what we need as we progress along the path we’ve chosen. Make sure you’ve chosen the right one.

Home

architecture-1867187_640

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The quality of your home involves on what goes on inside the walls and beyond the windows. It’s involves memories, joy, and times of happiness that create what the home really is.

Family

Family is where the home is, really, isn’t it? There really isn’t a home without the feeling of family, friends, and a place to come home to each night that gives you the feeling of peace and security.

The home is where the most important parts of your life happen. Memories are made with family and friends in a place that provides a safe haven for you and yours.

The quality of the home is what you believe the home is really about. Is it about walls and windows or is it about those who are there with you, living life and spending their time with you?

Safety & Security

How do you put quality on safety and security? Is it an alarm system that alerts those of intruders or is it having the basic things needed to live life?

Though each one of us have our own opinions on the subject, we all agree that a home provide a sense of safety and security in itself.

There are those that believe carrying firearms, having those alarms, and learning basic self defense are also part of safety and security, but if you really think on the subject, what is the most important when it comes to security and safety?

That is something you need to decide for yourself.

Work/Business

business-3167295_640

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

This could be a hard discussion because of how you perceive the value of your work or business. Is it something that you’re just doing to pay bills and get by or are you invested into what you do, enjoying every minute?

Employment

As I mentioned earlier, you should love what you do, but if you don’t how do you find quality in something you hate? Well, for me, it has to deal with everything that isn’t me. It’s something you need to evaluate and talk though as you work toward the goal that set you on that path in the first place.

Why are you doing something you don’t like? And if you do like it, how can you get more out of it? How can you make it even better? What is it about your work that you dislike? Is it something you can change? Sometimes you can change it, while other times you have to deal with what’s given, but you can always change how you think about it.

Is work something you bring home with you? What I mean is, if you’ve had a really awful day, does it leak into that place of family, safety and security you’ve created? How can you leave work at work? It’s hard to shut off your working mindset when you return from a rough day or even a fantastic day, but sometimes that is what you need to do in order to create the quality of work you need in your life. Do what you can, work to make things better and keep your work at work.

Business

Your business like anything else is your pride and joy. It’s something you strive to make better for you customers. So, what is it about your business that brings people in? Quality! The quality of products, the quality of services and what meets their needs that you can provide.

What to Think About

Your definition of quality and what it means for your business as a whole. What things do you want to be known for within your business that makes consumers want to purchase your product once they hear about it?

Your targets and achievements to accomplish as your business grows.

Things to Ask

How will you measure quality? Quality of the product, the service, performance, stability, efficiency, etc? There are many aspects of a business that involves quality and what you feel is necessary to measure within the aspects of a great product or service. This may be the time to really sit and think about how quality affects your business and what you can do to improve on it.

Time

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Image by annca from Pixabay

Time, that ever present entity that seems to slip away from us as the day wears on, but how do you measure the quality of time. Is it the amount of time you spend in each area of your life or the meaning of time as it’s related to each area of life?

Time is tricky and finding quality within it is even more so. We talk about time and quality as it relates to business and how we can be more productive with our time or with our family and how we can spend more ‘quality time’ with them, but what does ‘quality time’ really mean?

Time, like a clock, can be a spread of hours and minutes, but it’s what you do with and how you use those hours and minutes that count.

Productivity only gets better if you work hard to create a schedule that fits you and those around you. You want to spend more quality time in your business, then be sure you’re focusing on the things that will progress your business. Leave the things that won’t or have little affect on the back burner until you are truly ready to give them the attention that they need.

Family is another place where we are always trying to provide the quality of time. Are you spending time as a family or are you ‘spending time as a family’? If your together in the same room, but everyone is doing their own thing or on their phones, playing the latest app, does that really count as quality time? What are you children doing in school, what are their interests now (they do change), what about your spouse? Do you really spend ‘time’ with them? or are you telling yourself that you are?

Find the time to really sit down and put the ‘quality’ back into ‘quality time.’

 

Writing

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Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Now, onto the thing that we all love (and sometimes hate), writing. Since this blog deals with writing, couldn’t possibly leave this out, right?

So, how can we tell the quality of our writing? It’s difficult to read your own writing and really see it as a consumer, to see the quality of the words, characters, and journey through the eyes of the reader, which is why we have beta readers, alpha readers and so on.

But if you’re looking to find a quick list of things to aim for in terms of quality in your writing I’ve compiled a list for you below. Enjoy.

  • Spelling – Darn that autocorrect, how I have a love/hate relationship with that thing. You never know when it will change your words even when you don’t intend to.
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation – Do I use a comma, semi-colon, or colon here? Those have always given me a problem.
  • Consistency – Keep with the story, characters, settings as your novel progresses. Readers can pick out when something goes amiss.
  • Style
  • Readability/Flow – No one likes a choppy story
  • Tone – keep with the same tone throughout unless it’s absolutely necessary to change in the middle.
  • Enjoyable topics – Readers all have different opinions, but you should have an idea of what your readers like so you can appeal to their interest and imaginations as you write.

 

Final Thoughts

Quality can deal with many things, but it’s how you perceive the thing in question that really counts. Find the quality and you will find the better in you and your business.

 

Tools for Writers

Tools for Writers

In the field of writing, there are so many tools out there for you to choose from. One could get lost in the sea of information, systems, and apps that are available to help those aspiring to write, edit, research and more.

As you journey on this path to becoming a great author, you will try all the things to get down a system for yourself. Writing programs, apps, the dreaded editing (unless you like edits, then contact me because I hate them with a passion) revising, and more. What you find is that some things that work for others, will not work for you.

Each of us has our own mind, our own way of seeing things and processing them. What will help me may or may not help you, but in the chance that it might help you or you find something you might want to try, I’ll list what I use below.

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of the products discussed in this post.

Writing

 

 

Writing

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Word processors used to write your drafts. Really they are the devices we use to create journeys, adventures, horrors, and more to intrigue, create emotional attachments, and provide an escape from the real world.

Scrivener

Like many others, I use Scrivener to write my novels. With a binder setup, it’s easy to keep things organized they way I like whether thats in chapters, scenes, parts or whatever.

I can also use their outline feature and notecards to keep everything organized and easy to find. If you’d like to check it out, you can go HERE to find out more.

4TheWords

This isn’t just another word processor, it’s a journey in itself. Trust me, if you want to go on your own journey as you write this is the site for you.

It has timed writing as you defeat monster, collect objects and join others in global quests where you write with others to defeat the same monsters. It’s great!!

Inspiration/ Creativity

Creativity

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

The places or things you do to create that spark of thought that will propel you into the next story, the next chapter, or next scene.

Pinterest

The number one place I go when I need inspiration on any aspect of my story, whether it’s characters, setting, or whatever. There is so much talent, images, and inspiration being posted to this site. It’s a wealth of creativity and great place to find inspiration.

Movies

Another place I go to find inspiration is movies. I love watching movies and will unconsciously choose some based on characters or abilities so my mind can see what others have thought of. You never know when that one thing you’ve been looking for will hit you like a ton of bricks, so keep a notebook handy. It’s a great way to get a visual aspect on story, characters, setting and more.

Games

Oh, this is one of my favorites. Our family loves co-op and strategy games so we have a lot of ‘European Games’. Our favorites are PowerGrid, Caylus, Cleopatra, and my personal favorite Shadows Over Camelot.

Games, like movies can provide inspiration for many aspects of your story if you tune into specific aspects. You can get ideas for character, setting, even story, but you can also get a feel for strategy, materials, and the path your pieces travel as well. It’s amazing how you can find creative inspiration from the games we play.

What are you favorite games and movies? What are the ones you come back to again and again?

Prompts

This may not give you as much for specific inspiration, but could give you the spark you’ve been looking for. There are many, many prompts out there for many different voices. You can check out my Pinterest Page for Prompts or just give it a search and see what comes up. These are fantastic for story, dialogue and more!

Brainstorming/Mind-mapping

Mind Mapping

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We all need a way to get our thoughts out and on paper (or within an app). Those creative ideas aren’t going to stay in our heads forever, right?

Notes

There is nothing more simple than having a spiral or notebook with just that, notes. You pour all your thoughts and ideas into that stack of bound paper (or looseleaf if that’s what you have) and work from there, returning when you need that one piece of vital information. Searching and scavenging for what you need because you didn’t organize them enough to know where the darn thing is.

Unless you are extremely organized and put into sections with tab, then I commend you. It crosses my mind, but I haven’t done it yet.

MindMeister

This is a free app (for 3 maps) that allows you to create visual maps, organizing them in any way you wish to suit your needs. You can do one for characters, another for setting, another for plot and so on. The possibilities are endless with this!

Features:

  • Collaborate anywhere
  • Simple Project Management
  • Choose your Mind map style
  • Share your mind map with others
  • Mind Map Presentation
  • Templates
  • Add Images, Video and more
  • History Mode
  • Import and Export

Scapple

I personally haven’t had much experience with this, but from what I see, it’s similar to MindMeister. It give you what you need to get your ideas out and connect them in a way that suites your needs and the needs of your book. The best thing for those of you that use Scrivener – you can connect your notes to Scrivener! Awesome!

 

Features:

  • Write notes anywhere
  • Connect notes using drag and drop
  • Completely freeform
  • Stack notes in columns of related ideas
  • Create background shapes to group notes
  • Customize the appearance of notes
  • Move and arrange notes easily
  • Full Screen Mode
  • Export or Print your ideas
  • Drag Notes into Scrivener!

Productivity/Focus

Focus

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Writers and authors are always trying to find more focus while working to get their next story complete. It’s the way it’s been for years, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you can find that focus to get the most out of your productivity, then you would be set, right?

I have a whole post on focus, which you can find Here! How to minimize distractions and regain focus to get things done.

For me, I’ve tried to use productivity apps and other things to stay with my deadlines, but I haven’t found the one for me. What works for me, and I cannot stress this enough, (obviously) is the creativity of 4thewords.com. If you haven’t tried this site, I dare you to try it. I’ll even give you my code for a free month to try it out: OSUBW81786

Another app I’ve heard of are Write or Die, but I can’t see myself using this because I would be devastated if my words started disappearing if I couldn’t meet my goal. It’s terrifying really, but if it works for you, by all means, use it!

More apps are:

There are so many more apps if you put in a search for productivity apps, I can’t tell you what to choose. You’ll have to try them and decided what works best for you.

Organization

These are also Productivity apps, but I’ve placed them here because they are also great tools to keep everything organized and together. A place where everything is there, in that one place for you to find quickly and easily.

Trello

Yep, you knew I was going to say that. Trello is a great tool to keep all your things organized and in one place. With board, cards, and the ability to attach anything to those cards, it’s an easy way to keep things separated that need separated and those that need grouping in their prospective areas.

It’s great for keeping track of multiple aspects of your writing. You could have one board for world building, one for characters, one for settings, images or you could use one board and use separate lists and cards to keep things in one place.

You choose how you want to organize it. That and you can also use it for personal, business, or daily routines or tasks.

Scrivener

As far as organizing your book and only your book, Scrivener is the place I go too. I love that I can keep my scenes, chapters, research and can add any documents and even websites as references right within the program. It’s fantastic!

Storage (Electronic/Harddrive/USB)

Want a way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized in a way that you can take it with you or keep it on your desktop? Try Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Docx/Drive for electronic storage. If you are the kind that likes backups for backups, you could keep files directly on your computer or on a USB drive.

Putting my drafts on a USB is something I’ve thought to do, but haven’t done yet. I’ve lost copies and versions that I know I’ve changed, but can’t find the draft I changed. Any one else have a problem like that?

Reference

References

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Every author/writer has their list of references in their toolbox. There are a few that I turn to that I always head to when I need information.

Searches

When I need information on a specific topic there are two places I head too and I bet you can guess where those places are. Yep, you guessed them, Pinterest and Google. These two places are a wealth of information. Yeah, you chance that what you’re finding isn’t true, but it came from the internet so it must be, right?

Just kidding! Even with all the lies out there, it’s the job of the writer to research multiple avenues and discover the truth. We are like journalist in that fashion.

Dictionary

There is always that one word your brain just can’t seem to remember the definition for and it happens more frequently than you might think or notice. That’s why having a dictionary handy, so you can look up that infernal word and find out if you’re using the darn thing right.

Thesaurus

Like the dictionary writers run into what I like to call their ‘favorite’ word. It’s that one word they use over and over again within their manuscript. You know which word that is and a thesaurus is a great tool to diversify your vocabulary so you’re not repeating or becoming redundant.

Editing/Revising/Proofreading

Editing

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

So, you’ve finished your manuscript and are now ready to move onto the next step, editing your work. I gotta tell ya, this is the part I absolutely hate, but it’s a necessary evil. Here are some tools you can use to make the process easier.

ProWritingAid

This program is great for finding errors in your writing. It will also help with style, errors, finding the right words, and punctuation. For a full list of features, click Here.  It’s been a great help to me (when I don’t lose my current copy of my project) and it could be what you’ve been looking for.

Beta Readers

These are people who will read your story for the soul purpose of giving you feedback on your writing. As much as you may hate to hear what others have to say about it, it’s necessary to take their suggestions into consideration. These are those who represent your readers, and you want your story to resonate with them. You definitely don’t have to take every suggestion, it is your story after all, but just consider it. Don’t ever take their words in a negative way. It’s hard to take criticism and trust me, that is something I need to work on myself.

Editor

Another ‘tool’ that will help is an editor and a good one. You want to do your research for this one. An editor is an invaluable part of your editing process. They catch what your beta readers didn’t and can give you advice on how to improve your manuscript.

Other Apps

Though I haven’t personally worked with any of these apps, they are worth mentioning because I’ve seen and heard others who recommend them highly to others. Take a look and see if any fit your and your writing style.

Publishing

Publishing

Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay

When you’ve gone through your manuscript, had other eyes on it, revised it and it’s the best it can be. Double check you have the right copy, trust me the last thing you want to do is publish the wrong draft of your story. Been there, done that, it’s not pretty. Here are some places to consider publishing or at least the two that I use.

Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing)

Well, I bet you were going to guess this one, but they are the biggest retail site out there and one of the easiest to publish your book too. They provide everything you need to get your book out to the world including formatting to ebook and paperback and helping with cover design. You can check them out Here.

Draft 2 Digital

With Draft2Digital, you are able to enter all your information once and publish to multiple stores, which now includes Amazon. They’ve also created an easy way to list your books and share them with the world on social media. If you haven’t taken a look, you can Here. You won’t be sorry!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many, many  tools for the writer/author to utilize and there are many more that I haven’t listed. Take what you like from here and use what fits you, leave what doesn’t.

From one aspiring author to you, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Keep at it, don’t stop, forge ahead and succeed!

 

Focus

Focus

Nothing gets me more irritated then when I can’t focus on what needs to get done. So, what really is focus and how to you keep ahold of it or get it back when you lose it? Let’s get right to it.

Word Focus

Dictionary.com

Wiki

  • A point at which reflected or refracted rays of light converge.
  • A point of a conic at which rays reflected from a curve or surface converge.
  • The fact of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • The quality of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • Concentration of attention.
  • The exact point of where an earthquake occurs, in three dimensions (underneath the epicentre).
  • The indicator of the currently active element in a user interface.
  • Most important word or phrase in a sentence or passage, or the one that imparts information.

What is Focus and Why you need it?

Eyes

We are going to focus on the ‘concentration of attention‘ meaning of the word. This is the act of concentrating your attention on any one thing. In order to focus on that one thing you must put aside the other things vying for your attention and keep trained on that one thing.

There are times when you need to get a project complete, research done, or that nagging chapter you need to finish; this is where focus is going to get you through to that last step (or to the next one). There are always times you want to stop, take a break, or quit all together. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where you NEED that break, but don’t let it take hold so much that you forget why you’re trying to focus and continue in the first place. Take that break, but Keep Going, you can do it!

How to find/be focused

Cameras

Although, your mind is capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time; I mean, come on, who doesn’t love multitasking. The only problem with that is your split mind is trying to concentrate on too many things at once and you’re not getting as much as you could be getting done, complete. You need to focus on one task, goal, etc at a time in order for your focus to really work as it should.

So, in order to find focus you should concentrate on one thing at a time. The trick to it, is that you don’t move onto anything else until that one goal or task is achieved. You may want to spread your thoughts and move to more projects, but when your focus is split, it’s hard to get multiple things done.

Ways to Focus

Focus Tunnel

  • Stop Procrastinating – Get to that thing you’ve been putting off.
  • Turn off Notifications – Better yet, put the electronics in the other room so you won’t hear the phone ring or notifications from your favorite game.
  • Create a list – Stick to the most important first. – Commit to one thing at a time
  • Create Deadlines – What motivates better than having a deadline?
  • Make the Choice – You have to make the choice to focus on what, when.
  • Keep Calm and Forge On – Keep going, Forge ahead to the next goal.
  • Minimize the Noise  – As much as you can
  • Create a Plan – Stick to it.
  • Don’t compare Yourself to Others – only you know how you can do better.
  • Create a Reward System – who doesn’t like rewards for doing well?!
  • Work on Full Screen – To minimize distractions
  • Create a Routine
  • Measure Your Progress – See where you’ve come and where you want to go.
  • Enjoy the Process – Love what you do!
  • Embrace Failure – It’s going to happen, learn from it and Forge On!

Final Thoughts

So, now that you have some ways to focus in your toolbox, go and get back into the rhythm and harmony you were once at. And don’t forget to love what you do, because there is no greater feeling than rising every morning to do what you love doing the most.

Featured Organizing

Organizing Your Novel

Everyone has their own processes and systems to keep things organized and together as they write, but what if you’re just starting or are in need of a fresh start with your organizing? Keep reading and you’ll find some ideas I’ve dug up for you because, well, I’m in the same boat.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve found…

Electronic Organization

I’ve found that quite a few have used an electronic system for keeping their stories organized. Let’s dive in and look as what others are doing.

Trello

With Trello you have different boards, cards, lists and more, it’s no wonder many turn to Trello for their organizing needs.

You can create different boards for every aspect of your writing, from settings to characters to world building. You can even have a board for personal, homeschool, work, or whatever you need. It’s quite amazing how you can organize your thoughts, events, projects and more within Trello.

Trello

The best thing is that you can do this in any fashion you wish. If you want each book to be a board, you can. If you want each aspect to have its own board, you can. It’s really up to you how you organize and work the program to benefit you as a writer.

It’s also great for planning and keeping track of blog posts, social media, and any other project you have. As in the image above, you get a glimpse of my week at a glance.

Some Features:

  • Project Boards
  • Tasks Cards
  • Subtasks Checklists
  • Task Assignees—Give tasks a clear owner, so everyone knows who’s responsible.
  • Column Titles
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Add Attachments
  • Comments
  • Drag and Drop Workflow
  • Collaborate
  • Add Power-Ups 
  • iOS and Android Apps
  • Syncs Between Devices
  • And More

To see more features and pricing, click Here or Here.

Evernote

Here is one I haven’t used in years. I actually hated this program with a passion and I couldn’t tell you now why it was that way, but while researching this topic I found that a lot of people really enjoy using it.

You are able to create different binders with which you can add notes for each aspect of your story from characters, settings, checklists, etc.

Evernote Organization

I tried it, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to add a note without duplicating another. I would have to toy with it longer than a few moments to figure out how to use the newer features since the last time I toyed with it, but I can see how this could be a good program to use for your writing.

Using it as a binder, you can add sub-binders and notes to keep all your notes together. Like Trello, you can add images, clips from the web, sync between devices and more. Check it out to see if it would be something that could help you.

Some Features:

  • Save
  • Organize
  • Sync Text, Images, And Clips From The Web
  • Search Notes
  • Clip Material From The Web
  • Annotate Uploaded Documents and Images
  • Collaborate With Others
  • Chat With Teammates (Requires Business Account)
  • Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Web Apps 

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Asana

Asana is similar to Trello in that it is a simpler version. You don’t have as much micro managing as with Trello or Evernote, but you can create different teams which have separate lists for each item, but it could be helpful for separating aspects into To-Do lists or even note lists. You can add attachments to each card and move them around as you please.

Asana

Use them as a checklist for each area of your writing and you are able to have teammates and assign tasks (Like with Trello or Evernote), you just need to decide which is perfect for you.

Some Features:

  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Subtasks.
  • Task Assignees
  • Sections
  • Due Dates
  • Due Times
  • Start Dates
  • Attachments
  • Likes
  • Tasks in Multiple Projects

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Scrivener

I use this program the most for my writing and to keep things organized. I love that there are pre-created sections for each thing, along with preloaded templates for your use. You can add your notes, images, etc to each section or note for use later.

Scrivener

To be honest, I never thought of this as a way to plan your novel until I began thinking hard about it. It has everything you need to keep your thoughts, images, notes, etc in one place. You can connect websites to refer back to without even leaving the program. The only it may not contain is a calendar for scheduling, but you can even create a folder for marketing, promotion, blog posts, social media, and anything else you want related to the project. It would be all in one place with your writing and it’s available to sync between devices, which is awesome!

More Features:

  • Binders
  • Subsections
  • Text Editor
  • Styles
  • Import
  • Corkboard
  • Outliner
  • Templates and Icons
  • Screenwriting
  • Tools for Non-Fiction
  • View Documents Side by Side
  • Full Screen Writing
  • Set Targets and Track Progress
  • Metadata
  • Collections
  • Choose Your Tools 
  • Print/Export/Publish
  • Snapshots
  • Autosave and backups
  • Write Anywhere

To see more features and pricing, click Here.

Paper Organization

You always have the option to go back to paper and pen/pencil, but what do you use to organize your ideas, thoughts, and other aspects of your writing? Let’s take a look below to find out.

Binders

Binders are helpful for organizing your thoughts. You would write everything out by hand and organize it in whichever way that suits you. Within the binder you could have tabs and folders to hold anything that reminds you of your story, separating different sections and areas of your writing to create the perfect system for you.

Binder

Each tab could correspond with an aspect of your story with notes on each one for you to refer to as you write. You could use the folders as a way to keep the physical things you collect pertaining to your story. Perhaps you’ve collected shells because your story takes place on a beach or buttons because your character collects them.

Notebooks/Folders

Organizing Folders

As with binders, you can have separate spirals for each aspect of your writing or you can use one for each novel/series. They make some handy tab stickers for your use to separate each section and if you were using folders, you could fill them with whatever you need for each area along with using a filing cabinet to keep them all organized.

Storyboard/Post-its/Marker Board

Post-it organizing

I’ve seen and heard of others who lay out their novels in a storyboard type way. They clear a spot on their wall and start adding post-its for each aspect. They’ll use different colors for characters, plots, subplots, etc. and I can see how this would work as a great visual. You could even take a picture of it to refer to when you are away from your desk.

If you’re the electronic type, I’ve seen some apps that will let you organize post-its in the same way, so you can use both ways if the desire suits you.

Hybrid

The hybrid version is to use a bit of both electronic and paper versions. Perhaps you like the organization of the binder to keep things together, but want a way to take notes on the go. You could use your notes app on your phone to keep notes or the post-it app for ideas that come to you while you’re away from your home and then put the into your system when you return.

You can search your device for the right app for you. Everyone works differently and as one will work well to one person, it may not work for another. Here is where you need to try different things to see what fits you and your style best.

Don’t Forget to Save Your Work

There are times when you need a reminder to save your work in multiple places. The nice thing about scrivener is that it save each draft as a new file. Unfortunately, unless you know where the one you’re searching for is or you rename them each time, there is still a chance you could lose it somewhere. So here are some ways to save your all important story ideas to keep from losing anything in the future.

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • ICloud
  • USB Drive/Other External Memory Device
  • Print
  • Amazon S3

What other ways do you save your work? Inquiring minds want to know!

If you have another way of keeping your stories in line and together, let us know in the comments! 

Update

Progress Update

As I like to do every quarter, I like to tell you how I’ve been progressing with each of the things I had planned to get done this year. It keeps me focused and provide me with accountability when I’ve got others who are seeing what I’m doing and how I’m progressing through each item. How are you doing so far this year? I’d love to hear how you’re progressing on your goals.

Let’s get to it…

Books

Series

I’ve had betas go through my first story and let me tell you, I was not expecting the responses that I got. It’s hard to see, but a necessary evil. I can tell you I felt so deflated by what I saw that I haven’t written a word since. I made it though a few chapters, but knowing that my story had so much that needed fixing created this deep whole in me that I decided to take a break from editing to clear my head. Yes, it’s part of the process and yes, I realize that they are going to see things that, no matter how many times I read through the thing, I will keep skipping over because I know my story. There have actually been a few who stopped reading it because of how much work it needed.

I’ve run it through an editing software and re-read it several times. I feel like there was some sort of mistake and they received an earlier copy of my manuscript, but I can’t seem to find my most recent one. As I read through, I know I changed a few things that are still in the copy I’ve sent out. I know now that this is going to take me longer than I intended since I now have to go though my manuscript once again, but I will not give up. I’m too invested in these characters to see them set aside. You have know idea what they’ve put me through! It may take me longer, and I may be taking a break, but I will get back into it and they will be re-launched.

Books

Stand Alone/Possible Series

With my stand alone and next possible series, you’ve probably guessed they are put on hold until I can get my head on straight and get through the edits for Raylynn’s story. I’ve completed both the stand alone and the possible book 1 of another series, but have put them aside for now to focus on getting my head through edits for my conquer series. Those of you who can write and produce these things within a few months, I commend you! How you do it, I have no idea, but I hope to get my series back up and out relatively soon after coming back into editing.

To Be Read

I guess my down time had caused me to not read either. I’ve recently gotten back into my reading list and I feel good about that. Besides, how are you going to find inspiration without reading and learning from those before you? Right?

Short Stories

As with everything else, this came to a screeching halt as well. Though I have plenty of material in mind to use for this. I just couldn’t get into writing these past few weeks in order to get anything remotely close to a story down. It’s still there, still in the plans and I hope to get back on track as the warmer weather revives my frozen limbs. Yes, I hate the cold and are more productive when the sun is shining and the weather is warm.

Beta Readers/Arc readers

You have no idea how grateful I am for those of the readers that made it all the way or even part of the way through my story. I realize now just how hard it was to get through and I also understand why those of you who didn’t finish. I will be doing some major work on this series and hope I’ll be able to get a few others to read through it once I’ve fixed all the mistakes I’ve made.

Reading

Editor

You guessed it. I haven’t even looked for an editor since receiving my manuscript back from betas. It’s not even remotely close to being ready for an editor to look at. Until it’s ready, I’ll be putting this on hold as well. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and re-evaluate things to be sure you’re producing a valuable product for your readers.

Edit

Communication

Blog

Here is one area I’ve kept up with and I’m moving forward on. Every week I’ve produced a post for your reading pleasure on inspiration and writing. I’ll continue to do so as the weeks go by.

Have a word or writing topic you would like me to write about? Go ahead and leave me a comment and I’ll add it to my list! Tell me what you would like to see here!

Communication

Connections

I am still posting daily to my social media and I’ve gained some momentum here. I still have plans to provide more so if you have any questions, things you’d like to see, or whatever else comes to mind, let me know and maybe I’ll post something. If you would like to see what I’m up to, go ahead and visit my sites! Facebook Twitter Instagram Patreon

I love connecting with others so let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll do what I can get you a peak into my life as a writer!

Business

New Products

As I mentioned in my plans, I’ve been thinking of expanding my business to more than just novels. I would like to provide items that would be fun and helpful for writers and readers alike.

I have some digital products in mind as well as physical products. I’ve got some in mind and a few that are in the works. I’ll be doing an extra blog post on those as they become available. If you want to be notified when all that is happening, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE!

Business Products

Video

Unfortunately, this is still in the works and I’m hoping to get it up and running with regular videos as soon as possible. I plan to have it going by the end of March.

I know some like video better than reading a blog, so I would like to provide more ways to connect with you as readers than just written words. Again, I’ll let you know when that becomes available!

Other Items

Educational

Every year I try to complete a few education classes, courses, books that will help me to improve my writing and skills. I’ve been reading and researching to no end. My ‘Must Reads’ board on Pinterest if full of things to look at.

Guitar

Art/Music

Now that I’ve taken some time to myself my goal is to draw and play my guitars more. I may not be doing these things as much as I wanted, but I’m making some time and that’s progress in itself.

Final Thoughts

Now, I know this post is not very upbeat, but there are always going to be some down points and this is one of those for me. I’ll get back up and flowing, don’t worry. How are you doing with your goals this year? Let me know in the comments. Are you struggling with something as I am or are you plowing along, full steam ahead?

Spring Break

(Spring) BREAK

March and April bring a whole new perspective to the word ‘break’. As the days wear on and things are now becoming mundane and ordinary we feel underwhelmed (or overwhelmed), uninspired, and are in need for the chance to refresh our minds and bodies. To calm the raging monster within that’s telling you it’s time to take a break from life and just relax and rejuvenate your soul.

Why You Need A Break and Why They Matter

  working hard
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Image by rawpixel on Pixabay
There are times when your mind and body are no longer in sync with each other, when you may be just going from day to day, doing the same things. You’re not as excited for the things you used to get pumped about and in order to get that exhilarating feeling back, you need to relax and let go of the things that are attacking you at the moment. You need to let them slide away to leave you with a clear mind. You and your body need rest and relaxation to refresh not only yourself but your mind as well. Running on like the energizer bunny is only going to create a cranky, irritated soul with resentment and overwhelm. As with sleeping, you and your body need time to just do nothing for very little; to do something that doesn’t take a lot of thinking and something you consider fun. Not only do you need to relax, you need to preoccupy your mind with things that don’t relate with work, the house, or anything else you normally stress over.

Signs It’s Time to Take a Break

Other than just feeling like you need a break, there are signs that tell you it’s time to step away and get some much needed R&R. Frustration
                                                                                                                                                                                          Image by punttim on Pixabay

Overwhelmed

One of the first ones, is the feeling of overwhelm. Perhaps you are trusted to do more at work, but you also have to worry about the house, the kids, and anything else that comes along that needs your attention. And although you may have a system down to take care of each item, you feel like you’re falling apart. Trust me, I have had that feeling. One minute you’re rolling along a smooth road, everything is getting done and you’re getting ahead, then something comes along and now your road is bumpy. Everything is starting to pile up and your sense of accomplishment is now a sense of dread.

Tired/Insomnia/Irritable

As with overwhelm, that smooth road brought excitement, accomplishment, and the strength to keep moving forward, but that bump you hit (who knows what that was back there) is now bringing you every other bump you would have not otherwise noticed. With all the bumps and divots, you are now feeling tired all the time. You’re no longer sleeping well and you dread getting up in the morning to even do basic things. Things begin to irritate you, those tiny things that should be brushed off as natural habits or actions are now getting on your nerves to the point you may be snapping at those you care about. That is not the way you want to live your life, right?

No Motivation/Ambition/Unfocused

That speed racer that was forging ahead at full steam, is now searching for any reason to not continue with what has to get done. Your motivation, ambition and focus to complete tasks and get ahead seems so far away that you’ll never catch up with the trailing rope behind the train of tasks. Your mind is wandering to all the things around you, rather than those that are right in front of you, and your attention is taken up by all the little things that could be put off for another day. What once felt like an easy ride has now turned into one of struggle and a fleeting grasp at the rope. One you may not have the strength to pull yourself back up to the train.

Mistakes/Regret

When you’ve run yourself to the point where you are making small mistakes all the time, ones that you regret, but can’t really control. (You could if you weren’t suffering, but when things reach this point, it’s nearly impossible to control.) That’s when you know you need to take a break. Speaking from experience, I’ve been so overwhelmed, tired and unmotivated that I began making small mistakes that just added to the pile that was growing, which caused more mistakes, more regret and a lot of frustration. Continuing as I was, was not an option. I needed a break!

Health Concerns

This could just be eating more of your favorite junk food, or maybe you skip a meal because you’re just not hungry. Perhaps you pick up a bad habit, like smoking or drinking to make yourself feel better or to take the ‘edge’ off. (That is not going to help, trust me and it may cause further health problems) When you start making bad health choices like eating a lot or nothing at all, you refuse to get even a walk in and your body is reacting to the stress in unusual ways; that’s when you know there is something wrong and you NEED a break. If you get this far, I urge you to take a really hard look at what you are doing and fix it. This is not where you want to be, trust me. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I was so overwhelmed, letting everything get to me that I barely ate anything for weeks and ended up in the hospital because my body was reacting to no nourishment. I knew I needed a break and it resulted in me leaving my job. Now, I don’t suggest you leave your job, but for me it was the right decision. When your health is declining, you need to take a moment and think about whether you just need a break or you need to leave in order to get better.  

Ways to Take a Break

The first thing you need to do is decide if you are in need a shorter or longer break. That is something you need to decide, I can’t tell you which you should choose. You should have in inkling of which you should do. Break
                                                                                                                                                                                           Image by jplenio on Pixabay
Now let me list all the ways…

_____cations

These are all the, you know, vacation types. Vacation. Staycation. Play-cation. Whether you need to get away, you want to stay in the area or at home, or if you want to do something to have fun. Do what you deem best.

Relax

Create a list of all the things you find relaxing and do them all. Take a bath, read a good book, take a nap, walk in nature, listen to soothing music, you get the picture here. Whatever you find relaxing, go for it.

Activity

Though you may not find it relaxing, there are those of us who need to move or do something. Find a way to expend the energy that is still relaxing, like taking a hike, playing a board game, fly a kite or even coloring with crayons! I love to color with my kids! That is something that is relaxing for me.

Motionless

Here is where you will sit still or hardly move, but I promise you’ll still find it relaxing. Try star gazing, watching the clouds, or even meditating or getting a massage. You never know how relaxed you’ll feel after watching the clouds as the roll by.

No Electronics

I know, I know, your whole life is on that device, but we are trying to get you to not stress and to relax. Those notifications can live without you for a short time. If you let those around you know that you’re going to be unavailable for a time, they should get along fine without you. Turn them off and find out just how much quiet and relaxation you can enjoy.

Events

Going to events or attractions can be relaxing as well. Places like the aquarium, the zoo, farmer’s market and museums can bring you peace while learning and seeing something new or what you haven’t seen in a long time.

Final Thoughts

Everyone looks forward to spring break, but have you thought about what you NEED and what kind of break you should take? If you’re like me and need some much needed R&R, try some of the things from this list. May you find peace and relaxation when you need it most. Know of any other ways to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them!