Juggling My Life from May Day to Memorial Day

It is the end of the month and time for me to report what progress I’ve made. For those who are unfamiliar with my progress reports, I divide my to-do list into four “buckets.” My writing business includes three: Making (or the actual writing), Managing (all the detailed work that supports my writing), and Marketing. From May Day to Memorial Day, it was a busy month. 

My home remodeling project seems to grow bigger and more complex by the day. This month also brought birthdays, Mother’s Day, the end of the school year, and a three-day holiday. Those life events I wouldn’t miss interrupt my normal routines. While I am normalizing my routines, I have not yet hit a consistent routine since my husband died. 


Instead of goals or resolutions, I use intentions. You can miss a goal. You probably break most resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When life gets in the way of your plan, take care of that event or disturbance, intending to return to your primary plan. Every morning begins with a renewed intention.

During the past year, I’ve also heard the word “target” used instead of goals. That’s another word that allows flexibility for life events. You aim for the target and get as close to it as possible. If you miss your target, you keep aiming at it until you hit it consistently.


Though I remain a last-minute blogger, I kept up with the weekly blog posts and my monthly newsletter. 

I’m pleased to report that I’ve written more words than in April. Yay! Most of those words were on my current WIP, And When I Wake, book three in the Fellowship Dystopia Series. Double yay! If you want a more detailed report and a sneak peek, join my newsletter which will also give you news, information, and free flash fiction to read. 


The Managing umbrella includes maintaining and updating my website. Making certain I have enough supplies goes into this bucket. So does improving my business and craft through learning opportunities, and taking part in online and live events.

This month, I’ve tweaked bits and pieces of my website. My intention is to create a website readers want to visit. 

Preparing for the local science fiction convention is an in-progress portion of Managing. I will be on a few panels at ConQuest (June 2-4) and my books will be on sale at Weird Sisters Publishing‘s table in the dealers’ room. I’d be happy to sign your copy while I’m there.


I am delighted that my book, My Soul to Keep, was chosen as one of KOBO’s Great Books to Read campaign. They featured it in their ads during the last two weeks of May.

I’ve learned a lot about marketing in the past year. Book sales continue to grow slowly. Asking for reviews of my books is difficult and awkward for me, but they are vital tool to attract readers searching for books like mine. Culling, maintaining, and creating new ads requires a significant amount of my time. 


I was delighted to spend time with two of my grandsons this month. Thanks to C for helping me weed the front flower garden! 

We celebrated my daughter-in-law’s birthday. Despite a snafu at the bakery that created the wrong cake, the birthday cake was delicious.

The home front continues to be dominated by renovations. Installed by my son, my new back door looks great and has already reduced my heating and cooling bills. 

I’m stripping years of paint, texturing, and wallpapering from a wall in my living room. Surprise, surprise! Under the paint, texture, and two layers of wallpaper, I discovered an exposed electrical box with live wires covered in electrical tape. 

While I wait for my son to have time to trace those wires and cap them off safely, I’m working other areas of the wall. 

Going Forward

Balancing the writing work and the home remodeling is an ongoing struggle, but I’m closing in on finishing the big stuff. I will continue prepping the walls of my living and dining room space and intend to get to painting the ceiling. 

I’m looking forward to ConQuest where I’ll see some of you and many friends I haven’t seen during the pandemic years.

My intentions are to write the first draft of And When I Wake as quickly as possible. That means I need to get three or more chapters finished in June. 

Of course, I’ll continue blogging and sending out my monthly newsletter. 

I am forever thankful that I get to do this thing that I love and for readers like you who “get” what I’m trying to say. 

Remembering & Honoring

Memorial Day in the United States is a day to look back and honor the sacrifice of American service members who died in the line of duty. We must remember that an American comes in many skin colors, ethnicities, genders, and beliefs. I cannot list them all but wish to salute the women, the Native Americans, the Blacks, the Hispanics, and all the “others” who served and died for this country. 

It’s also a day to remember the families who made massive sacrifices too and forever lost a loved one. 

While it sounds like “the words we’re supposed to say,” I say thank you for their service. I am deeply touched by the sacrifices they made to serve our country and will always remember that many died so that I can be here today. 

Thank you.

Image Credits

Top juggler image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Final Image by Keturah Moller from Pixabay

When You Choose Change, You Choose Growth

Here we go again. Our world is changing, in big and little ways. It’s the end of the school year, a new season approaches, and new technologies and troubles are surrounding us. Whether you are a kindergartener or graduate, a leader or a worker, a mom or dad, a singleton, newly coupled, or a long-term pair, change is part of life. Sometimes change comes to you unbidden. You may choose simple changes or hard ones. Sometimes you choose to become your true self.

photograph of a stick with four green pupae and one brown one. Change is coming.

If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.

Dolly Parton

Change is Hard

Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.  

Mandy Hale

Bet you knew that already. Yet most of us hold some level of dread about change. Change is hard.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

Amelia Earhart

The Challenge of Change

You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.

Marianne Williamson

No matter who you are, how you identify, where you live, how old you are—you will face change. You can try to ignore it. You can try to hold on to your old ways of being. Painfully, change will still happen and you will have missed an opportunity.

We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” 

Oprah Winfrey

You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.”

Shonda Rhimes

How hurtful it can be to deny one’s true self and live a life of lies just to appease others.

June Ahern

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

Gail Sheehy

Keep an Open-mind 

If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.

Geena Davis

If you embrace change as an opportunity, you allow yourself to receive blessings and challenges with grace and strength.

When in doubt, choose change. 

Lily Leung

Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.” 

Suzan-Lori Parks

Get Support

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” 

Gail Sheehy

Yes, change can be scary. It can hold difficulties and feel overwhelming. If it feels too big, too much, too everything—get help. Help comes in many forms. It can mean journaling, talking to a trusted partner or friend or mentor. Or reading a post like this.

Sometimes, you may need professional help.

If you simply need someone to talk to, click here or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The changes we dread most may contain our salvation. 

Barbara Kingsolver

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

May Sarton

Change Takes Time

Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.” 

Debby Boone

Change is like a seed. A seed must receive nourishment and time to grow into a seedling, then unfurl leaves, and finally to grow into its full potential. Even adjusting to the change in weather or wardrobe or a new home, change takes time. Give yourself grace. Allow yourself the time you need.

Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping.

Julia Margaret 

Appreciate Where You Are

Each step of your journey through change brings you new joys and fears. Appreciate your flexibility and your strength and the growth that brought you to this new level.

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you…never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Believe in Yourself

Photograph of a red and brown butterfly with bright blue "eyes"

Change will challenge you, maybe shake your belief in yourself. So remember the words of these mentors.

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself. 


Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman

Sometimes in life, we take a leap of faith. Remember, the leap is not about getting from one side to the other. It’s simply about taking the leap…and trusting the air, the universal breath, will support your wings so that you may soar.

Kristi Bowman

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. 

Mother Teresa

Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” 

Margaret Mead

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.

Ella Fitzgerald

Please take a moment to congratulate yourself for a change you’ve made in the comments below. 

Image Credits

Top image by Hans from Pixabay 

Last image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay

Ignite Your Reader’s Imagination with the Inciting Incident

How do you, as a writer, capture your readers’ hearts and minds? With a spark that grabs the reader. No, that spark is not the first sentence, though it is important. The spark that grabs the reader is an inciting incident that ignites the reader’s imagination. Crafting the right inciting incident is crucial to laying the foundation for a can’t-stop-reading story. To create the best one for your story, you must understand what it is, why it’s a powerful piece of your story, and how to create one.

Photograph of a t-intersection of a paved road in the countryside with mountains in the distance. Your inciting incident must force a turn like a t-intersection.
Stop sign and markings on the road at a two-way crossroad in a rural countryside scene

What is an Inciting Incident?

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to incite means to move to action,stir up,spur on,urge on. So far, so good. But there’s more to what an inciting incident is. 

Let’s look at what some writing experts say the inciting incident is. 

Kathryn Craft at Writer Unboxed says: “A story exists because something happens in a character’s life—the inciting incident—that upsets her equilibrium and arouses her desire to restore balance.”

According to Sara Letourneau on DIYMFA it’s “the launching pad that thrusts a character into the conflict.”

Janice Hardy on Fiction University says, “The inciting event is the moment when something changes for the protagonist that draws them onto the path that is, or will become, the novel’s plot. If this moment didn’t happen, the story would not have happened.”

No matter which genre of fiction you write, it is a pivotal moment. It is when the protagonist is at the t-junction of her life. There is no continuing on the path she’s been on, at least in her mind there isn’t. She must turn onto an unfamiliar path. If she does not turn onto this path, the rest of the story either doesn’t happen or makes little sense.

Why it’s Important

The inciting incident often focuses on a smaller issue related to the big conflict of the story. This leads some writers to believe that the inciting incident is minor. 

It is not a minor event. 

I think Janice Hardy says it best, “If this moment didn’t happen, the story would not have happened.” The right inciting incident deepens the questions in your readers’ minds. It hints at problems to come. Often the protagonist misunderstands the meaning of the moment. Sometimes the reader also misunderstands. Sometimes the reader knows more than the protagonist. Either way, the reader wants to keep reading.

If you want to read more of this post, please visit the Writers in the Storm blog.

For more about writing, read Create a Compelling Plot with What-But-Therefore.

The First Woman Elected Mayor in the US

In 1887, Kansas granted women living in first, second and third-class cities the right to vote in municipal elections. One of these third-class cities was Argonia, Kansas. A group of men in Argonia did not want women or the temperance movement involved in any aspect of politics. So they made a joke nomination to humiliate the women in their town. They put a woman’s name on the ballot. They figured her overwhelming loss would show that women should stay out of politics. The woman they put on the ballot was an officer of the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Things didn’t work out the way they expected. Susanna Madora Salter became the first woman elected Mayor in Kansas and in the entire United States.

black and white portrait style photograph of Susanna Madora Salter. A three-quarters portrait shows a calm and serious expression on her face. Her hair is pulled back with curls framing her forehead. She's wearing a high collared dark dress with white turned collar and a broach at her throat. A simple chain hangs around her neck.

Early Life, Education & Marriage

On March 2, 1860, descendants of Quaker colonists from England, Oliver Kinsey and Teresa Ann White Kinsey, had a daughter. They named her Susanna Madora “Dora” Kinsey. They lived near Lamira in Belmont county, Ohio.

The family moved to an 80-acre Kansas farm in the Kaw valley near Silver Lake in 1872. Dora attended district schools there. In 1878, she entered Kansas State Agricultural College (present-day Kansas State University) in Manhattan. The college allowed her to skip her freshman year, as she had met her requirements in high school.

It was at the College she met a law student, Lewis Allison Salter. Salter was the son of former Kansas Lt. Gov. Melville J. Salter. He graduated in 1879.

In 1880, Dora’s health broke down due to overwork and forced her to leave college six weeks before graduation. 

She married Lewis Salter on September 1, 1880, at Silver Lake.


They moved to Argonia in 1882. The little Quaker village had a population of less than five hundred people. 

Salter ran a hardware store there. In 1883, Dora had her second child, Francis Argonia Salter. Francis was the first baby born in the village. 

Dora took care of their children and became an officer in the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

A year later, her parents moved to Argonia and bought the store, which operated under the firm name of Kinsey & Salter. Lewis Salter read law with a local attorney and prepared for the bar.

Their little town of Argonia was incorporated in 1885.

Introduction to Politics

Following Argonia’s incorporation, her father became the first mayor of the town and her husband, the city clerk. As city clerk, her husband wrote the city ordinances.

When the state granted women the right to vote in 1887, the Argonia WCTU called a caucus. Their president was absent, so Dora presided at the caucus. 

A group of men in Argonia didn’t want women to vote, especially women who campaigned for the prohibition of alcohol. Two of those men attended the WCTU caucus. They heckled and tried to nominate men who also opposed the WCTU. The rest of the WCTU voted them down..

The WCTU selected a ticket of men whom they considered worthy of the town’s offices, regardless of political labels. 

The group of opposing men held a secret caucus. They would teach the women to stay out of politics. The day before the election, they placed the name Susanna Madora Salter on the ballet without her knowledge. (Candidates did not have to be made public before election day back then.)

They were certain only the members of WCTU would vote for her and women would see her embarrassment and stay out of politics. 

Election Day

Dora learned of her nomination after the Polls opened on Election Day, April 4, 1887. The local Republican Party chairman saw her name on the Prohibition Party ticket and sent a delegation to her home. They found her doing the family laundry. 

They explained the trick and asked if she would serve if elected. When she agreed, the Republicans admitted they wanted to teach the tricksters a thing or two. They would not only vote for her, but campaign all day to see she got elected. The WCTU abandoned their ticket of men and also voted for her. 

Her husband, an early voter, came home angry at the trick played on his wife. Imagine his surprise when he learned she’d agreed to serve as mayor if elected. 

That afternoon, she went to the polls with her parents. It wasn’t proper to vote for oneself, so she left the box for Mayor unmarked.

Two days later, she received the official notification.

The twenty-seven-year-old mother of four, Dora Salter, won the election by a two-thirds majority.

News Traveled Fast 

News reporters descended on the little town to observe her during council meetings and to interview anyone they could. 

Debates raged in newspapers across the country. Some people objected to “petticoat rule.” Others took a “wait and see” attitude. Many cheered her on. A few made fun of her.

The newspapers mentioned she was only five feet, three inches tall and weighed only 128 pounds. One paper called her a “frontiersman’s wife, possessed of brawn and sinew, rather than pleasing plumpness.” An article with a Kansas City dateline said, “billiards will soon become a lost art in all the smaller towns in Kansas, for the women have entered politics for the purposes of reforming the men.”

Even foreign newspapers from as far away as Sweden and South Africa discussed the pros and cons of a female mayor.

Mayor Salter

At her first council meeting, Dora told the council members they were the elected officials, and she was merely their presiding officer. From most accounts, she presided over the meetings and the town with decorum, and respect, and attention to the letter and the spirit of the law.  

Years later, she learned that three members of the town council, also elected when she was, had been in the group of tricksters. 

Laura M. Johns, president of the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, took advantage of Dora’s election. She invited Dora to speak at the Kansas Women’s Equal Suffrage Association’s convention held at Newton. Appearing on the platform with Dora were Susan B. Anthony, Rachael Foster Avery, the Rev. Anna Shaw, and Henry Blackwell, husband of Lucy Stone. 

The Mayor had a Baby 

Dora had a son, Edward Argonia Salter, in 1887. Unfortunately, the baby died a few weeks later.

When newspapers learned the mayor had given birth while in office, Argonia received additional publicity. Newspapers articles voiced multiple opinions once again. Some saw this as a sign that women could handle public office as well as men. Others disagreed.

Summing Up Her Term

According to most newspaper accounts, Dora fulfilled her obligations as mayor. Some were complimentary. Others said she was “adequate.” She finished her term and did not seek re-election. She preferred to stay home and take care of her family.

Dora received a deluge of mail during her time in office. Answering the mail cost far more than her year’s salary of one dollar. 

Life After Office

Photograph of a red brick two-storied house with a gabled roof and three chimney stacks. There's a wood sign on a rock pedestal that proclaims it's the former home of Susan Madora Salter.

Dora and her family continued to live in Argonia until 1893. She and Lewis had nine children, eight of whom survived.

When the Cherokee strip was opened, her husband went to what is now Oklahoma. He filed a claim one mile south of Alva, Oklahoma. Soon after, they moved the family there.

They sold that farm in 1903 and moved to Augusta, where Lewis practiced law and established a newspaper, The Headlight. He edited and published the paper with the help of his oldest sons.

Later, Lewis moved the law office, the newspaper, and the family to the town of Carmen. He died on August 2, 1916.

Dora moved her family to Norman, Oklahoma, where her younger children attended the state university.She lived there for the rest of her life. 

Susanna Madora Slater died two weeks after her birthday in 1961, at 101. She was buried in Argonia, alongside her husband.

Argonia remains a small town of less than 500 residents and is about 50 miles southwest of Wichita. 


The citizens of Argonia honored Dora Slater on November 10, 1933. With her present, they unveiled a bronze plaque mounted on a stone base in the town square. Donated by the Woman’s Kansas Day Club, it read:

In Honor

First Woman Mayor in the
United States

She Served as Mayor of Argonia, Kansas,1887.

Born March 2, 1860

Marker Placed by
Woman’s Kansas Day Club,

After her election, more and more women across the country sought election and served in public offices. Though she never asked for it, Susanna Madora Slater blazed a trail for women in the United States. 

What if this happened to you?

Would you serve if elected?

If you like this post, you might like to read about another woman in history.


Kansas Historical Society

Smithsonian Magazine

Genealogy Bank



Image Credits

Top image by Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Second image, photo of the Salter home in Argonia, by Art Davis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Why Your Beliefs About Creativity Matter More Than Talent

Are you in the camp that believes creativity is a gift or a talent? Perhaps you believe you aren’t creative, or you lost your creativity, or that you have a creative block. All these beliefs can be true…and false. 

photograph of a young child's hands holding a red plastic knife cutting through a ball of multicolored play dough. with unrecognizable play dough shapes in the foreground.

What Creativity Isn’t

Creativity isn’t like your teeth. You are born without teeth. Baby teeth grow in. Then, at a certain age, you lose your baby teeth. Those baby teeth are gone for good. Sure, adult teeth come in, but even they aren’t permanent. You may lose one or all of your teeth. That is not how creativity works. 

What Creativity Is

Creativity is more than a definition. It’s a mindset, a way of thinking. As children, you don’t need to be taught how to be creative. You believe you can, so you try. Sometimes those attempts are successful. Sometimes they are not. As you grew older, and hopefully wiser, you learn that tries that are unsuccessful are failures. Often that’s not an actual lesson in school, but it’s a lesson in attitude. If the authority figures and peers in your life treat your tries as successes, you learn that trying is the success. If they treat your tries as failures, you learn that trying is failing and failing is bad. 

How Your Beliefs Get Twisted

Very few of us ever want to do badly, so those who learned failure is bad stop trying. That mindset requires that you not be creative. But you don’t make that a choice, it is a default. So you stop trying to figure out a different solution or path. And that’s not the only reason some of us stop being creative.  

Some of you learn, in the same way, that being creative isn’t sustainable. You learn that you’ll never earn a living unless you do something practical. Others of you have critical life issues that consume your time and emotional and physical energy. For a multitude of reasons, you make the choice to set aside your creativity while you focus on being practical or dealing with life issues. 

Beliefs that Weaken Creativity

There is nothing wrong with being practical or not wanting to fail or with spending your time and energy on life issues. But watch out for:

  1. Inaccurate beliefs – It’s not creative unless it’s “original.” That (fill in any form of creativity) is an inborn talent. I am not gifted. I’m not good enough.
  2. Self-critical – I have no talent. I’m not as good as (fill-in-the-blank).
  3. Jealousy – I should have/could have created that, then I’d be just as famous or rich or whatever. Or, he got the lucky breaks I didn’t get. 
  4. Comparisonitis – I started at the same time as (fill-in-the-blank), but I can’t sell half what he does. I’ll never produce product as fast as (fill-in-the-blank) does. 
  5. Listening to Others – (fill-in-the-blank) says I’m not original enough. My mother says it’s cute that I try. 
  6. Fear of imperfection – If I try, I’ll just fall flat on my face. I’m not good enough. I can’t get it right.
  7. Fear of judgment – So & so said it was terrible. Or, what if so and so said it was terrible? My significant other (parent, peer, etc.) laughed at it. I can never show it to anyone else.
  8. Fear of the blank page (or canvas or screen, etc.) – I don’t know where to start.
  9. Feeling empty or a longing for something – I’ve got nothing left. I don’t know if that’s the right thing for me. 
  10. Can’t say no – I have an obligation/responsibility/duty to do (fill-in-the-blank). I don’t have time. The PTA, committee, team, etc. needs me.
  11. Too much unproductive time -Too much time watching tv, on social media, on the phone, or other forms of procrastination.

You may tell yourself one or all of those things. All of them have one thing in common: they help you avoid a fear. At least 99% of the time, all of those are a lie you’ve told yourself. Why? Because it protects you from your fear. It’s easy. It’s the path of least resistance.  

Overtime, that lie feels like truth. Especially if you “tried” to be creative again, and you “failed.” Obviously, you were correct in thinking you never were, or had become, uncreative.

Retrain Your Brain

Image of the side-facing silhouette of a person with a brain-shaped word cloud in his head and the words "retrain your mind" below that.

Your creativity has grown weak from disuse. Much like a muscle is weak when you haven’t exercised it for a long time, you will need to practice being creative. Practice thinking and trying. Just like weak muscles need training, retrain your brain. How do you do that? 

1. Stuck in a misbelief? 

Turn that misbelief upside down. Practice saying the opposite of what your misbelief is. For example, if your misbelief is that you aren’t original enough, repeat the phrases: “Nothing is original. Everything is unique. I am unique.” It’s a fake it until you believe it kind of thing. 

2. Too Self-critical? 

Do you honestly think Shakespeare or Dean Koontz or Nora Roberts never write a wrong word? Or that they never have a bad day? Maybe their bad day means they only wrote 3000 words instead of 5000 or maybe their bad day means the next day they threw away all 5000 words they wrote the day before. But after years of practice, they know how to mine those 5000 words for the gems that are there. 

Even Da Vinci painted over paintings. Did he do it to be cheap or because he didn’t like the first painting? Bet he wouldn’t have painted it over if he liked the first one. 

3. Jealousy. 

It’s difficult to see that other people’s success isn’t a reflection of your own skills or aptitude. Stop exposing yourself to whatever triggers that jealousy (Facebook, Instagram, Art magazines, etc.). Instead of focusing on the other person’s success or your lack of success, focus on learning the skills you need to level up your work. 

4 Comparisonitis

Remove the trigger for comparisonitis whether that is social media or television or some other source. Focus on yourself. Practice gratitude. Learn to compete only with what you did yesterday, the week before, or the year before. Record your growth and which skill you want to focus on in the future.

5. Listening to Others

You guessed it, remove yourself from the trigger if you can. If you can’t, try letting the ones telling you hurtful things how you feel about what they said. Or tell them you would appreciate them keeping their comments to themselves. 

6. Fear of Imperfection

Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Do it out loud if that helps. Sometimes you can trick your brain. For example, while writing my first draft, I tell my inner editor, “Your turn is the next draft. Be patient. You’ll get to fix all the problems soon.” Or trick your brain by telling yourself, “It’s okay, this is just for practice.”

7. Afraid of criticism 

Read the 1 star reviews of your favorite book(s) or product that you idealize.. Seriously, some of them may have valid points but you will find many that either missed the point entirely or never read the book. I’ll bet at least one of them makes you laugh out loud. If this is a difficult thing for you, don’t ask for or read criticisms of your work. You can have someone else read them for you and distill them into kind ways to help you grow as a creative. Or simply ignore them. Focus on learning and refining all your skills. 

8. Fear of the blank (page, canvas, screen, etc.)

Write or doodle the same thing over and over until your brain can’t stand it and writes something different. Free write about how you feel physically or emotionally. Or write about a passion: how someone pissed you off or how much you love and care for someone. Try setting a timer for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes and write nonstop for that time, then quit for the day. Write a letter to yourself or your hope or your favorite person. Re-write a scene or the end of a book you didn’t like. Copy the words directly out of a book you read and liked. Write about how you’d fix a world problem. The point is to practice a skill. Think of it as practice. 

9. Feeling Empty

This can be difficult. If this feeling is interfering with your daily life, with taking care of yourself, seek professional help. 

Sometimes, feeling empty is because you’ve exhausted yourself. Sometimes you have a creative slump — your creative mind needs a refill. Consume quality creativity. Go to a museum or gallery or library. Walk in the footsteps of a creator you admire. Read a biography about that person. Listen to inspiring music. Take a walk and appreciate nature. Explore your why. Why do you feel empty? What triggers that feeling? What would the opposite feel like? 

Read a good book, listen to great music, or get outside. Work in the garden or go to the nearest creek and dip your toes in. Study a master of your craft. Practice a basic skill. Do the easiest thing you can in your craft. Think of it as a warmup exercise before a marathon or like a singer running the scales to warm up her voice. Try something different — if you’re a sculptor, try writing a poem. If you’re a computer programmer, try moving to music. (Dance if you can, but if you can’t just let your body move in response to how the music makes you feel.)

10. Can’t say no.

You’ve got a good heart. You want to help everyone, be there for everyone. But you need to be there for yourself, too. Sometimes that 5 minute task or 30 minute visit can ruin your whole day. You worry about it beforehand, prepare for it, then worry about it afterwards. Just say no. 

Manage your commitments. Choose the ones you can do well within a limited time frame. Set a time to work on your creative project and protect that time. Let family and friends know this is your time and you won’t let non-emergencies interfere with that time. 

11. Too much unproductive time. 

Think you don’t have unproductive time? Log how much time you spend on what activities for a two- to four-week period. Then look at how you spent the time. If social media or computer games are sucking up your time, there are apps for that. They can “lock access” to programs for a time. You can also give yourself a time of day or number of hours per day you can enjoy those activities. Start small and increase it as you can. If that doesn’t work, try cold turkey. Remove the temptation for an hour, a day, a week. It might surprise you how much more productive you can be without that distraction.

It’s Your Creativity, Do it Your Way

We romanticize what being creative means. As if being creative comes from Hollywood, we think of creativity as breakthrough ideas, blockbuster movies, and Pulitzer Prize work. By doing that, we rob ourselves of the joy of smaller creative moments. 

Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.

Thomas Edison

Want to read more about improving your creativity skills? Read Your Enthusiastic Chaos is the First Step.

It’s your story. You have the power to change your beliefs, to be creative. Make a time and place to think about creativity. Appreciate the skills you’ve got and the ones you learn. Improve your skills. Observe. Practice. Dream. Do it the only right way — your way.

What is one misbelief you have or have had? What will you do to overcome it or if you’ve beat it, how did you do that?  

Image Credits

First image by elkimmelito from Pixabay 

Second image by John Hain from Pixabay