Showing posts with label The writing life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The writing life. Show all posts

Do Not Give Up: Seek Inspiration

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another
with no loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill
All writers experience it: low times. A low time can rear its ugly head after a particularly painful rejection, a bad case of writer's block, or in my current challenge, a serious case of lack of writing time. At times like these there is only one thing to do: Seek inspiration.

So before you make those New Year's resolutions, spend a little time filling your well with inspiration. Jot down inspirational sayings and thoughts that speak to you—tack them onto your bulletin board and read them periodically throughout the New Year.

Read the Tea Leaves

During a recent visit with one of my daughters, I delighted in sharing a quiet moment with her sipping a cup of tea at the end of the day. Our favorite? Yogi Bedtime Tea (Yogi tea in its many varieties is sold at most major grocery and natural food stores). My daughter would read her saying to me and ask me what mine said, and we would revel in the simple yet profound sayings before taking our first sip.

I keep an envelope with some of my favorite inspirational sayings, many snipped from the strings on my teabags, and am considering using one of the Yogi sayings in the front pages of my WIP book. Enjoy a few from my collection:
  • “Oneness is achieved by recognizing your self.”
  • "Happiness comes from contentment.”
  • “Your intuition is your best friend.”
  • “Love, compassion and kindness are the anchors of life.”
  • “Let things come to you.”
  • “Live from your heart, you will be most effective.”
  • “I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings. “ - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) A saying from a Good Earth teabag.
Inspirational sayings Tacked onto My Bulletin Board
  • “I began to wonder if this was why I’m not afraid of the work it takes to write a novel. For me, writing isn’t work. It’s fun. It’s a creative exploration into my characters, their world, the possible points of view the story could be written in, or the possible scenes that could exist. It’s about exploring how wide and deep and wonderful a story can be, rather than seeing it as a straight shot from beginning to end. It’s not time to work on this revision. It’s time to play with this revision. I’m going to open my manuscript and not work, but play.” -  Ingrid’s Notes
  • A note about Ingrid Sundberg:  I’ve been following Ingrid Sundberg’s blog for years and gain a great deal of inspiration from her. She is the author of the YA novel all we left behind, critiques manuscripts, and has recently begun teaching high school. If you don’t know her, I recommend visiting her blog. I think you’ll be glad you did.
  • “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” -  Anton Chekhov, known to be one of the greatest short fiction writers in history.
  • “Art can heal anything and everything. Go and give and give and give. And when you give it all, it comes back to you.” -  Ben Vereen  
  • A note about Ben Vereen: Ben Vereen, an “accomplished and versatile” entertainer has appeared on Broadway, performed many one-man shows in the US and abroad, played Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong, has had many appearances on TV and has accomplished much more. Vereen holds a special place in my heart because of his courage in keeping his terrific attitude after losing his 16-year-old daughter in an auto accident, and suffering critical injuries from three accidents in one day.
  • “You’re dealt a hand of cards. You can choose to play it out—or not. I think the game is worthwhile, I really do.”  Christopher Reeve, the actor who suffered a spinal cord injury after being thrown from a  horse. 
  • Do the work. Do the work. Do the work. Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. I’m an audiobook fan and became inspired by Cranston’s story and advice in his autobiography audiobook, read by him,:A Life in Parts.
  • "Learning never exhausts the mind," Leonardo daVinci, heard on CNN Fareed Zakaria's GPS show on Sunday morning.
Benefit from Other Writers’ Wisdom
  • “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while, the muse shows up too.” - Isabel Allende, the Chilean-American author of The House of the Spirits.
  • “Kill your darlings. Even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Stephen King. One of the main inspirations I draw from Stephen King, and there are many, is how he gave up on his first book, Carrie, and threw it in the trash. His wife found it and advised him that it was good—keep going. When he finally finished it, it was rejected 30 times!
  • “Start telling the stories that only you can tell.” - Neil Gaiman, celebrated English author of American Gods, Coraline, and Sandman comics.
  • "Be daring, take on anything. Don't labor over little cameo works in which every word is to be perfect. Technique holds a reader from sentence to sentence, but only content will stay in his mind." - Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 40 novels, plays and novellas, and many volumes of poetry, short stories, and nonfiction.
As you begin the New Year, take heart. Inspiration can be found in likely places, and hidden in places you might least expect. You will feel renewed and ready to best any battle that should come along.

    Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at

    A Writer's Bucket and Mop List

    Do you have as much time as you want to write? I don't. 

    The first thing I want to do when I get up in the morning is write. But there are so many other things to do. Often I don't sit down to do it until nighttime when the dishes are done and the house is quiet.

    Throughout my day I dream of having (in order of preference):
    • a nanny (if I still had kids at home)
    • a maid
    • a cook
    • a secretary
    • a research assistant
    • a dedicated media specialist
    • an errand runner
    • a personal trainer
    • a gardener
    • a dog walker
    In other words, I wish I had a wife. Wait, I am a wife!

    Make Your Life Your Inspiration
    An excellent humorist writer friend of mine once told me about challenges her husband faced at his job. About what was going on with each of her three sons. About her own life and lack of time to get everything done.

    But, she said, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. If it weren't for the angst in my family I wouldn't have anything to write about.

    I've never forgotten her insight. It's a lesson I cherish every day. If I had too much time to write, my need wouldn't be as urgent. I may not be as motivated. I may not have those few hours of pure bliss to look forward to each day.

    Once I did nothing but write. My life became so narrow, it sapped any energy I had once had for my writing projects and soon I ran out of ideas. My page was as blank as my life. Create a proper balance in your life and this effort will take care of everything. What if balance isn't possible? Lopsided is good. As long as you take time out each week to work on your writing projects. Though it sometimes seems impossible, eventually you will finish and go after publishing your work.

    Gains and Losses
    Since recently finishing my first book, I realize I am teetering on the brink of publishing and marketing it and jumping into my next writing project(s) with both feet. Here is the short version of what has happened to my time while writing the book and a scenario that is sure to continue as I endeavor to reach my future writing goals.

    • The many friends and acquaintances I've made that will surely remain a part of my future.
    • The sharpening of my skills.
    • Learning many new things every day.
    • Staying up late and still getting up early.
    • Enjoying the feeling of joy inside at all that writing has given me.
    • The fun it is to share with others.
    • The feeling of accomplishment at completing such a challenging task as writing a book.
    • Looking forward to writing more books, articles and stories.   
    • Keeping a few other interests alive to strive for less lopsidedness and more balance, especially spending time with my family.
    • How much I've grown from reading and learning about different people and subjects and then the growth that has taken place from writing about them.
    • Emotionally I feel I've grown, too, for it seems that understanding our own emotions and others' emotions is part of writing.
    • Being an entertainer.
    • The sheer fun of having an audience!
    • No more time for sewing or photoscrapbooking.
    • Little time for socializing; having to say no to invitations to join clubs, play bridge, loll around the pool, meet a group of ladies for lunch.
    • Miniscule free time to simply curl up with a good book or watch TV, or do nothing.
    • Everything I do has to have a purpose in order to squeak out time to write.
    Live a Life of Gratitude
    The list of gains is long, losses is short. Good! Like my humorist friend, I wouldn't trade this life for anything. Let us be grateful for the lives we've been given, which have brought us so willingly to the page over and over again. 

    I hope you will leave a comment and let us know how you manage to fit writing into your life.

    Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she completed Joyce Sweeney's online fiction courses, picture book course and mystery and suspense course. She has currently finished her first book, a mystery/ghost story for 8-12 year-olds, and is in the process of publishing it. Follow Linda on Facebook.

    Five Challenges Writers Face

    Now that I have your attention. Everyday, writers face challenges that keep them from the page. 

    1. Distractions: These can include telephone calls from friends, those emails in your inbox, or the fox that crosses the yard in front of the window of your work room. Limiting distractions is something every writer must learn to control. I remember speaking to a writer and hearing how whenever anyone flew into town, they called him to pick them up at the airport, after all, he was just sitting around at home. Teach those around you that your writing time is valuable and a job that you take seriously. Then train yourself to quickly clean your inbox and keep focused on the page.

    2. Fear: We all face fear at sometime in our life, whether it's related to our writing or driving in an unknown city. The best way to deal with fear is to move forward and get your thoughts on the paper. Later it can be edited by you or the professional you hire. Don't worry about grammar or format, worry that you can't type fast enough to get it all down and keep going. 

    3. Negativity: I remember someone asking me, "Don't all writers only have one book in them?" "No," I snapped. "The saying is everyone has one book in them. Writers have multiple books, several poems and a number of screen plays." If only I had time to flesh out all the story lines that cross my path. Remove yourself from those who tell you it can't be done, and instead surround yourself with positive thinkers.

    4. Procrastination: Putting off until tomorrow what can be done today is not the way to live your life as a writer. Writing is hard work and it requires effort. Don't put off your writing project, instead sit down now and get started.

    5. Perfectionism: So you finally get your story down and then you go back and edit and change and edit and change and edit and change. Perfectionism can stop a writer cold. Of course, you can always find a slightly better word choice, it's just that at a certain point in time you need to move on. 

    Don't let the five challenges stop you from achieving your dreams. Instead, sit down and get to it. 


    D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and a co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, House of Glass, Book 2 of The Exodus Series was written with coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.

    D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  

    She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

    You can also follower her at or on Facebook

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