Break it down…#FridayFeel

casual-chair-coffee-1842621 (1)Lunch breaks, fifteen-minute rest breaks, spare moments between errands–what do these things have in common?

Hint…this is a blog post about creativity and positivity and a big, huge #FridayFeel.

The answer: breaks are a chance to text your Muse, ping the creative spirit within you that was hiding behind Excel spreadsheets, calendar appointments and endless to-do lists.

But I’m busy, Eliza! (That’s you, talking to me, and I’m nodding in total agreement).

I know you’re busy. CRAZY busy. I also know your soul needs that rest break in a big way. I know fifteen minutes may not seem like a lot, but you’d be amazed at what you can get done in such a small space! Creativity does not mean sitting down and writing the greatest novel of your generation, or painting an epic mural or composing an entire sonata…it means engaging, just for a moment or two, in your ideas and dreams. This blog post? A ten-minute free-for-all where I let myself spill my thoughts onto the page then spent the last five minutes of that 15-minute respite editing/posting the piece.

beautiful-beauty-carefree-1458318 (1)The thing about not having a lot of time is that you don’t have the time to be critical. I have friends who do ten minutes of free writing, and solve entire plot problems in the process. I know folks who carry a lightweight sketchbook or tablet with them and just scribble away in the space between one errand and the next, sometimes story-boarding whole comics or getting line art done for a commission they’ve put off for far too long.

And making this a habit? It’s *that* much easier to, the next time you get a break, dive into a creative project with the confidence that it will lead to good things, and the joy of engaging with that part of yourself in the midst of your workaday world. It shows your Muse, your spirit, your subconscious mind that yes, I’m serious about taking time to create and reaping the benefits of authenticity and self-care!

What are some things that you could do in a lunch break’s span of time? I’d love to hear them in the comments and, as ever, happy creating! ❤

My Moonpath: Tuesday, Newsday

So writing and editing both took a back seat to some not-writing-life goings on (I used to say ‘real life,’ but it’s all real). Now I’ve emerged from this most recent spate of lifey occupations with new resolve, new ideas and yes, an exciting new project that I can’t wait to tell you about in the coming weeks, but which for now must remain secret.

Hint: my rebranding is related to this marvelous, magical, and oh so lovely secret enterprise.

moon-2395139_1920 (1)Most of us content creators and, well, most of us humans in general know the feeling of the whirlwind U-Turn, the sudden branch in the path, or even better, a new path made of shimmering moonbeams that appears on a magical eve to take us to a higher place in life. This project…it’s definitely a moonbeam path. I was talking to my writing bestie Cassandra Chandler about this new road, agonizing about feeling committed to previously planned projects and already-mapped directions. As a good friend will do, she asked the most difficult and simple question: why wait?

I won’t go on about the fleeting nature of life, but I will say, if I’ve been offered a chance to embark upon a journey that fills me with such love, light and joy that I can barely contain it (I am spilling glitter everywhere, it feels like!), why put it on a back burner? Writing is such hard work and inspiration is not something we can count on if we want to make this a professional endeavor and not just a hobby but sometimes, the Muses sing and listening is the only thing to do.

Expect news in the coming couple of months, and thank you for joining me on my moon-path. So, what are your Muses whispering/yelling/singing/signing/interpretive dancing to you these days? ❤

Rough Going: Motivation Monday

I love the #MotivationMonday hashtag because, well, I need the extra prod and dose of inspiration the posts so often give me. Today, I’m facing down the barrel of rewrites and plotting for an extremely rough draft (Moya’s book, YAY!). It’s easy to get frustrated when looking at a mangled, wonky set of scenes. It’s easy to feel that I’m a hack, to think that I’ll never get the hang of this writing thing despite the fact I’ve been doing it for a whole lotta, tonna years.

It’s easy to get frustrated and want to back away.

Thing is, a lot of writers or creative content makers feel the same way. Those first few stanzas, the early line-art–it can feel like such a mess. But it has to start there.

ocean-3605547_1920 (2)I love what Terry Pratchett said about rough drafts–“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” Sometimes, we don’t know where a draft will take us, despite the best of outlines and most fastidious of planning. As vexing as feeling lost can be, I need to focus more on the magic of it all…the strange and wonderful alchemy of a story letting me know its intentions. I can only find the way, though, if I sit down and start writing. Eventually, the rough draft becomes something wonderful–in need of polish, but new, full of potential, and laced through with the joy of creation.

To all of you out there working on creative projects today, I hope you find the motivation you need to push through any barriers. I promise it will be worth the effort! ❤

 

One Small Thing: Staying Creative in a Busy World

Life is busy, the world is rife with problems to be solved, and finding quiet moments in the midst of it all can seem like an impossible dream. If chasing down moments of peace is already so difficult, how in the universe is it possible to stay creative?

The answer is simple: start with one small thing. There are days when I race from crisis to crisis, and I forget that anything else exists outside the noise. But I still have to do humany survival things like eating, chores, and such. I have to drive from busy point A to just as busy point B. I still have to walk across a parking lot to the day job, or take care of my pets, buy groceries, continue to human. Each of these everyday life occurrences offers me a choice: move through the moment mindlessly or pause, look around me and for a time, absorb the world around me.

create-3026190_1920 (1)When I think to do it, I can world-build, daydream, do character studies, catalogue ways to describe sensory input, and stoke the fires of my creativity in the small pauses daily life offers. A walk through the parking lot, for example, allows me time to observe nature in the city, think about how I would write about the color of the sky or how I would mix paints to achieve that particular winter blue. Are there any specific sounds, scents, or other sensory data I can name? How would my characters react to this particular scene before me? If they are from a different universe or time period, for example, what would that same sensory data look like to them?

It may not seem like much, but it’s one small thing that can, over time, enrich my creativity in unexpected ways. Just the other day, I was outlining a scene and an image I’d witnessed while driving home one hot summer afternoon popped into my head, spurring a different (and far better) trajectory for the scene. Over time, these moments add up and before I know it, I am living my creativity!

What do you do to stay creative in the midst of life’s busy-ness? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments and, as always, thank you so much for reading!

Return of the Light

Happy Monday, dear reader!

I am looking outside my window into a cold and snowy morning. The skies are gray giving way to still, quiet fog and the world feels muted. I have to think for a moment to suss out which way I’m facing (southeast, from where I’m sitting) since I cannot see any evidence of the sun. Though I love the quiet and coziness of winter, I miss the light.

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The winter solstice heralds the shortest day of the year though the days following the holidays can feel mighty light-less. The thing is, it’s halfway through January, racing toward February. In February, as my husband likes to point out, something wonderful happens. As each calendar date ticks off toward the spring equinox, we gain more and more light each day. Even if the air is still chilly or the ground covered in slush, I feel it–the return of the light.

This astronomical/seasonal observation brings me to some thoughts about my creative motivation and inspiration. The reason I write what I write is exactly the reason I look forward to those February skies: the light. Life can at times be heavy and frightening, stressful, wearying. What I want readers to take away from my work is a sense of lightness. I want you, reader, to feel just for a moment like there is sun waiting to burst through the fog, and that all will be well.

valiantheart2The world of Tanahr and the events of Valiant Heart (and yes, the sequels I have planned, SQUEE) are not always gentle. At the end of each book, however, I want you to walk away with the sense that there is goodness and love to be had in this and any world. Grief, hard times, trauma, and hurt are realities of existence. But so are love, kinship, victories both small and large, and beauty. This is the light I strive for in my writing.

Valiant Heart is available tomorrow…links to come! I hope you are staying warm (or cool if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, storing up the sun for when winter rolls around for you). Thank you for reading, and walk in the light!