Posts Tagged 'eating healthy'

The Quiet Mind

There’s no avoiding the truth: some days it’s darned hard to sit down and get started writing, even though I love what I do and (usually) love the story I’m working on. It’s hard to jump into a fantasy world with all the real-life worries vying for attention in my mind. Did I pay the electric bill? What time is that dentist appointment? Will my editor call today with news about that new contract I’ve been waiting on? The dogs are fighting. The kids are fighting. Hubby is pouting because I spend more time with my manuscript than with him.

Sometimes I think what we writers call procrastination, or even <gasp> WRITER’S BLOCK is really just an inability to hear our stories above all the other clattering and chattering going on in our minds.

Over the years I’ve tried multiple techniques to achieve the quiet mind and hear my story, all with varying degrees of success. As my tip today, I offer a few of these to you.

1) Trained Yoga or Meditation. Take some classes at the gym. Learn to do it. It helps.

2) Poor Writer’s Meditation. Buy a guided meditation recording and practice it. Usually this involves sitting still, focusing on breathing, then visualizing a scene or series of scenes as the guide talks you through it. Focusing on that one scene washes all the other junk out of your brain.

3) Even Poorer Writer’s Meditation. Record your own guided meditation. Talk yourself through sitting still, breathing evenly and deeply. Then take yourself on a trip through some calming places and into your story world. I actually did this during a rough patch a couple of years ago. My first scene afer the breathing part was on a beach. I felt the hot sand between my toes, the sun in my eyes and then on my shoulders. I turned off the beach into a tropical jungle where it was cooler and darker. I walked down a path to an ancient stone ruin with high walls. Inside those walls was my story world. As I walked on the beach and into the jungle, I consciously left outside concerns behind. Inside the ruins, I watched my story play out for a few moments (the part I’d already written). By the time I finished the meditation, I was firmly grounded in my story world, other cares were banished behind the wall, and I was ready to write.

4) Breathing exercises. At a minimum, learn to do this, and practice before every writing session. Just Google it. You’ll find pleny of instructions online.

5) Stretching exercises. Feel oh-so-good and help clear the brain. If you take a break during your writing day and feel your mind wandering before you sit down to start again, do some stretches. It gets the blood flowing. Again, many instructions online.

6) Scents. Scientists say our sense of smell has great ability to impact our brain. Light a scented candle before each writing session. Pretty soon you’ll have trained your brain that when you smell that odor, it’s time to write.

Hope that helps!

100-day challengers, how are you doing??????????????????????????????

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Taking care of yourself — mind, body and spirit

In my last post, I expained my theory on the positivity quotient and the connection between mind, body and spirit. What we think about (mind), affects our overall outlook on life (spirit). An unhealthy outlook on life can have devastating physical consequences (body).

But this is not just a one-way process. The flow also happens in reverse for some people. Obesity, disease and illness (body) can affect our outlook on life (spirit). It’s hard to be happy when you’re hurting, or you body tells you that you just can’t do the things you used to do. An unhealthy outlook on life makes it hard to think positively (mind) –lowering the positivity quotient.

In fact that backwards and forwards flow can become a self-sustaining cycle of despair that seems impossible to break. Your negative thinking impacts your health; your bad health makes you think even more negatively. That increased negativity makes your health worse, which makes you think even more negatively, and so on and so on, ad nauseum.

Maybe you loyal blog readers (all two of you, and Dad, you don’t count) are starting to see that Vickie Taylor’s 100-day challenge of 2011 is about more than just writing. It’s about having the life you want, the life you deserve, and living it to the fullest. That means you have to take care of your mind, your body and your spirit.

We’ve talked about taking care of the mind some–more to come in the weeks ahead. Today we start on taking care of the body, specifically, what you eat. I  know I’m not going to convince most of you to go vegetarian or vegan. I do hope that at least a few of you will take the initiative to educate yourselves about what you’re putting in your bodies. 

Much ado is made about the health care crisis in America. Is it any wonder we’re a fat, sickly lot when McDonald’s has become a staple on the family dinner table (if families even still have dinner tables)? When our school lunches count the ketchup that kids drown their French fries in as a vegetable? And that doesn’t even touch on the issues of genetically modified crops, pesticides in produce, artificial sweeteners, factory farming practices, etc.

I’ll leave you with a couple of resources I found enlightening and which started me on my journey to eating healthier (and yes, I still experience potato chip and diet coke cravings–and still give into them on occasion):

  • Food, Inc. — DVD — where our food really comes from
  • Skinny Bitch — book — no, it’s not a diet book, though it sounds like one. Just good information on why we shouldn’t be eating a lot of what we’re eating

Until next time — keep writing!

Shooting Ducks – How to make time to write every day

Let me explain right off that I would never shoot a real duck, except with a camera. They are beautiful creatures.

When I talk about shooting ducks, I’m talking about wooden or paper cutouts. You know, the kind they have at carnivals. The duckies float by on a little stream and you have to pick them off with a crappy pop gun in order to win the giant stuffed monkey.

Think of your book as the giant stuffed monkey you wanted so badly as a child. Think of all the things that stop you from writing it as those little duckies float. Pick them off without mercy.

By the way, this thinking applies to any goal you’re trying to meet in life and having a hard time finding time to complete.

Label the duck...then shoot it!

Here’s what you do: Print off this picture of a duck. Make lots of copies. Decorate your ducks if you like. Put bows on some, mustaches on others, color them with your five-year-old’s crayons. Then write on each duck one thing that keeps you from having time to write. Tape them up on your refrigerator and take them down one at a time as you conquer them. After a few weeks, you should have a bunch of dead ducks in your junk drawer.

Here are a few examples:

Cooking a nice dinner for my family. Hey, if you have family dinners and want to serve your loved ones home-cooked meals, I admire that. Don’t give it up. Just plan better. Find a cookbook called  Make-ahead Dinners, or something like it. While you’re cooking Sunday dinner, also make three casseroles that can be frozen, then just pop them in the oven on any given weeknight. Ta-da! You just gained back 45 minutes three days a week. Dead duck.

Giving the kids a bath. Cleaning the kids occasionally is kind of essential if you don’t want Child Protective Services to show up at your door. By the time they’re done, you’re exhausted and want nothing but a glass of wine and a soft couch. But, assuming they’re beyond the age where they tend to wear as much of their dinner as they eat, can they be bathed earlier in the evening, so you can get to the writing while you still have a little bit of energy? Can you make a deal with your spouse that you’ll take all weekday morning kid duty if he’ll bathe them two nights per week (the two nights you still had to cook dinner because you didn’t have casseroles to pop in the oven)? Dead duck.

Working out. It’s hard to find fault with anyone who actually manages to stay fit these days. But most smartphones have an app that lets you record voice notes. Take your phone and dictate a few paragraphs while you rock that treadmill. Dead duck.

Day job. Ok, this one is tough. You probably can’t just ditch the day job. Try to be more specific. Working through lunch every day at the day job. Start going out. Drive your car to a park and sit in your car. Eat peanut butter and jelly and write in a notebook for 20-30 minutes. Dead duck. Back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings and conference calls all day. If you have a salaried job where you regularly work more than 40 hours (so you won’t get fired for doing this), try scheduling a few 30 minute breaks during the week. Put them on your calendar so no one can book over them. Call it “2011 goal planning” or something. Close your door and write. Dead duck. Long commute to day job. Try that dictation thing again. Use a voice-activated recorder (hands free)–they’re cheap. Dead duck.

Everyone has time to write. Maybe not time to write a lot, but at least a few minutes to get some words on paper. The truth is we choose not to write. Maybe because we’re afraid, maybe because we think it’s really just a waste of time, that we’ll never finish a book, much less get it published. Look in the mirror. The face you see is the only real reason you’re not writing. Not jobs, not kids, not spouses.

Look at your day. Find the ducks–pockets of time that could be spent writing–and shoot them dead.


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western romance novel boxed set

7 men as tough as the West. 7 women ready to Cowboy Up

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Psychological Suspense short story with a bonus inspirational short story included

Coming Soon from Vickie Taylor

Fantasy Romance Novella

What am I reading today?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker - Just started, but I'm intrigued so far!

Last five books read:

TEXAS GOTHIC - Rosemary Clement-Moore - Awesome! Great fun and spooktastic at the same time!

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN - Ransom Riggs - Really creative idea. Enjoyed it very much!

BOOTSCOOTIN' BLAHNIKS - D.D. Scott - Very enjoyable, fun book!

THE GOOD DAUGHTER - Diana Layne - Awesome! Get it now!

GOT YOUR NUMBER - Stephanie Bond - Fun little mystery!

What’s on my TBR List?

GOOD OLE BOYS - Denise Barker

Reader’s Guide to E-publishing

Find your next e-book here!

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