Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Writing Excuses

In my last blog post, I mentioned I’d had surgery. I’m now in the midst of recovering. The doctor had warned me the recovery would take six weeks. I nodded my head. After the surgery, I discovered he was really serious. (Yeah, go figure. Maybe some hubris in my thinking beforehand.)

Writing Excuses
Writing Excuses logo
I spend a lot of my day, laying on the couch. Doing nothing. Or rather, healing. And for the first two weeks, the hours drifted by. Ah, it’s three o’clock. I thought it was just one.

But now, though the flesh is weak, my spirit wants to do something. I decided to work on my new novel. And discovered exhaustion sucks creativity completely dry.

Thankfully, a few months ago, a friend (thank you, Joanne Wasdin) had recommended a podcast. And I’d listened to several episodes even before the surgery—I’d stream them from my phone while I worked in the yard.

The podcast is called Writing Excuses. Their “logline” is “fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” J (Brandon Sanderson of Mistborn fame is one of the contributors.) Even though I don’t write fantasy/sci fi (I’ve been writing Southern noir), their discussions have been profoundly inspiring. Because fiction writing is fiction writing whether you’re describing an alien world or the buzz of cicadas in late summer.

After listening to the podcasts, I found some of my mojo. Granted, writing is still hard—but when has it ever been easy? And I’m 12,000 words into a new novel, which is much better than watching reruns of Downton Abbey or watching the clock tick the seconds.

So if you’re facing writer’s block or post-surgery-creativity-empty-tank syndrome, give Writing Excuses a shot. Because they've been doing this for ten seasons, there's something for everyone. And if you’re struggling with rejection, listen to "Perseverence"—hearing Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story choked me up.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A New Painting

I haven't been doing much blogging lately--or much of anything else. I had surgery. Yes, two cardiothoracic surgeries in the family weren't enough (see here and here), so I had major surgery too.

My husband Calvin took a week off from work to take care of me--my doctor's directions for home care were "stay in bed." That meant running the house was up to Calvin because our sons are in the middle of finals and their contributions to housework were putting their midnight snack dishes in the kitchen and throwing dirty clothes in the laundry room.

In the midst of playing nurse and maid (Calvin didn't need to cook much because our church brought us meals--thank you, Sally, Rachael, Laura, Karen, and Mom), Cal finished painting a watercolor. The photo isn't great quality, but you can see it on the left.

The painting almost makes my down time seem worthwhile. Almost, not quite.

For those that like to see what the painting looks like as Calvin works on it. Here are some "in-progress" photos.

This is early in the painting. 

Nearing the end.

N.B. The painting is from a photo I took on our Smoky Mountain vacation--the one where we saw a bear up close and personal--click here.

And if you'd like to see more of Calvin's watercolors, here are links to a few of the paintings I've shared on my blog: here, here, here.