Monday, October 26, 2009

Week 2--Becoming a Less Neurotic Writer in 12 Weeks

How's everyone doing out there? I can't say I'm feeling less neurotic, but I am focusing more on my writing and trying my best to ignore that brutal internal editor bitching on my shoulder. Is it working? Mmm, not really, but I am getting better at telling her to shut up. My week one checkin is at the end of the post.

Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity.
I love Julia Cameron's quote here: "Going sane feels just like going crazy." Yeah, that’s about right. But if that’s true, how do you tell the difference?

Cameron talks about barriers to our creativity. One of them is external. She calls them “crazymakers.” They’re the people in your life who create storm centers and chaos. The ones who need us right when we’re about to write or are in the middle of writing. The ones who always have some sort of melodrama in their life that then becomes part of our life. The ones who tell us we’re being selfish by taking time to write. Luckily, I don’t have a crazymaker in my life right now, but if you do, consider what you can do to either get them out of your life or minimize the damage they inflict upon your creativity.

There are also internal barriers to our creativity. The biggest one is our skepticism. Cameron describes the mind like a room. Inside our room are all our usual ideas about our life, our creativity, our higher power, etc. The room has a door and it’s slightly ajar. Outside the room is a dazzling light. In that light is a bunch of great, new ideas that are slightly outside of our comfort zone, so we keep them out of our room. The ideas we are comfortable with are inside the room with us. All others are kept outside.

Before our creative recovery, we kept that door closed. Cameron wants us to try opening it now and then. See what happens. “It is not necessary to change our beliefs,” she says. “It is necessary that we examine them.” She says creative recovery is all about “open-mindedness.” She suggests we spend this week consciously opening our mind a bit.

Cameron also talks about how writers tend to waste a lot of time in fantasy and daydreams when we’re blocked. We think about what could have, should have, would have. She says we simply need to pay attention. She suggests writing down how we spend our time during the day. What are the time suckers? We need to stop daydreaming and start doing.

Some other tasks she suggests are to write a list of 20 things we’ve always wanted to do in our life. Can we incorporate anything from that list into our week? She reminds us to read our affirmations daily before or after our Morning Pages.

Here's my Week One checkin:

Daily walking: Did this every day but two days. The weather was horrible here, so that's my excuse. I worked through a couple of plot issues during my walks and my dog really enjoyed it, so that's progress.

Daily 3-min meditation: I'm resisting this for some reason. It's not like it takes a lot of time, but I only fit it in 2x. I just don't think about it during the day. Maybe I should meditate right when I get up in the morning, when I'm making my To Do list (that I never remember to look at for the rest of the day...)

Daily morning pages: I did this every day but one (I was at the ocean for the weekend and ran out of pages in my journal). This is definitely a habit, one I can't do without. Just this morning I wrote out a whole new series idea that just came to me while I rambled about something else.

Weekly Artist Date: Yes, I did this. My siblings, mom, daughter and I went to the ocean for the weekend. I took an hour and went for a walk on the beach by myself, and spent some time drawing pictures in the sand with a stick and just standing in the surf watching the waves.

Yoga 2x/week: Did this and it felt great. Once was with the class I taught, then a second time for about 20 minutes working mainly on the tightness in my hips. This is a habit that I really want to cultivate.

Good luck this week!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Early Bird Special - Black Dragon's Heart

Get the last book in the series first.

Blurb - Devoted chemist, Sarah VanHorn, lives for her research but fantasizes about loving Jake Ramsey. Her two worlds collide when the dragon center agent arrives to rescue her from the company suspected of producing chemicals dangerous to those with dragon blood.

Sarah's not the only one with fantasies. Jake wants Sarah as his mate and he's waited years to claim her. Now, under his protective custody--not to mention the influence of Syndetic's sexual stimulant scenting the air--he can't resist the fiery temptation to finally make her his.

But when tragedy strikes and their dreams are threatened, will Sarah sacrifice her career, Jake, and possibly her life to discover the answers? And will Jake let her?

Monday, October 19, 2009

12 Weeks to Becoming a Less Neurotic Writer

by Becca Simone

Writers are neurotic. Isn’t that a given?

I’ve been in this industry for years, have dealt with my share of ups and downs, roadblocks, writer’s block, every type of block you can imagine. I’ve seen the highest of highs and lowest of lows.

I’ve seen success come easily to some, while for others—like me—every step is a well-fought battle. The longer I write, the more I understand why many writers before me have turned to alcohol, drugs or other addictions. Luckily, my only addictions are chocolate and Cheetos—good for the soul, bad for the waistline. My body’s saving grace is that my “other” job is fitness trainer and instructor (ie: I get paid to work out). Otherwise my fanny would be the size of Europe. As it is, it’s merely the size of a small country, not a continent.

Usually, I can handle the craziness. Sometimes, however, this business just makes me want to dig a deep hole and hibernate in it. I think anyone who writes can probably relate.

I hate feeling this way, so I’ve decided to do something about it. Looking back on my personal life, the time I felt most grounded and centered was when I had a regular yoga and meditation practice. Looking back on my writing life, the time I felt the least neurotic was early in my career when I didn’t know any better. It wasn’t long after I’d started writing that I read the fantastic book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks.

So…for the next 12 weeks I plan to combine the above efforts and share them with you on this blog. I’d love it if some of you wanted to travel this path with me, but feel free to just live vicariously through my craziness.

Here are some of the tasks “required” in The Artist’s Way:

A daily 20-minute walk outside. This will (hopefully) clear the head, work the body, bring oxygen to all the cells, and help me work through any creativity issues I might have. I plan to kill two birds with one stone and bring my energetic German Shepherd puppy with me. He’s 95 pounds of pure Tasmanian Devil.

Daily “morning pages.” This is stream-of-consciousness writing, like keeping a journal. Do this first thing upon waking up, every single day. I started doing Morning Pages about 10 years ago and have been pretty good about keeping this up. My day just doesn’t feel right unless I’ve written my 3 pages. I never go back and read them. And when my notebook is full, I shred it.

A weekly “artist date.” For at least one hour weekly, I’m to do something or go somewhere that feeds my soul. By myself. This could be browsing at a local antique store or flea market. Taking a hike along the river. Browsing a used bookstore. Driving some back roads and exploring the countryside. Whatever.

As mentioned above, I feel best when I practice yoga and meditate. So, I’m adding those to my daily and weekly To Do list.

Yoga – 2-3x a week. I teach one yoga class, so I’ll need to add one or two more practices on my own.

Meditation – this is the hardest for me. It’s really difficult to sit with my stillness and not have thoughts racing through my head at a million miles an hour. So, I’ll start slowly. Just 3 minutes of stillness, focusing on my breath. Every day.

Week One
Artist’s Way—“Recovering a Sense of Safety”
Basically, Ms. Cameron is saying that many of our blocks are due to fear, and only we can determine what we’re afraid of. My favorite quote from this chapter is, “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”—Joseph Chilton Pearce. I take this to mean that as I’m writing and working on my WIPs, I shouldn’t be so worried about it being “good” or “sellable”, but instead focus on getting the words down on the page. And to enjoy the process.

She says if we’re blocked in any area of our life, it’s probably because we feel safer this way. Hmm. She suggests writing down all our negative beliefs about our creativity (in this case, our writing) and then turn those around and make a positive affirmation out of each one. “Negative beliefs are exactly that: beliefs, not facts,” she says. “The world was never flat, although everyone believed it was. You are not dumb, crazy, egomaniacal, grandiose, or silly just because you falsely believe yourself to be.” Whew! That’s good to know.

I’ll check back here in a week to let you know how it’s going. Unlike with personal training, where I can measure my clients' before and after stats like body weight, body fat, and inches, there are no measurements with this plan to tell me if I’m less neurotic. I guess I’ll just have to go by how I feel. Is my internal editor a bit quieter? Am I being more productive, with less time just staring at my blinking cursor? Do I still feel like crawling into a hole and hibernating? Am I enjoying this process again?

Think about joining me. We can be crazy together.

Becca Simone's first erotica release, MIDNIGHT TREAT, is available now at The Wild Rose Press. Her characters aren't nearly as neurotic as she is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contest Announcement

There can only be one first time!

Please join me in celebrating mine. : )



Friday, October 9, 2009

Releasing Today: First Date by Lynne Roberts

My Rosette, First Date, is now available for purchase at Wilder Rose Press. I'm so excited!

Yes, this is my first publication but I think I'll be this excited when the next one comes out too. : )

Here's a blurb:

The Real Estate market is about to heat up.

When Bret Jacob's walks into Jill’s real estate office, she attempts to maintain a professional demeanor, but memories of accidental voyeurism in high school, years of what-if’s, and Bret’s drop-dead sexy grin only serve to ignite her fantasies.

Bret needs a farm for his growing landscape business. When he sees Jill Daniels’ picture in a real estate ad, he can’t believe his eyes: The shy girl from high school has blossomed into a desirable woman. Ten years ago, she didn’t stir his blood and drive away all rational thought; now, he’s fighting the urge to take her in his arms long enough to ask her on a first date.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. ; )

~ Lynne